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2.9. Journalists, media workers and human rights defenders



Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one. The latest versions of country guidance documents are available at

Last updated: December 2020

This profile refers to journalists, media workers and civil society representatives.

COI summary

Journalists, media workers, commentators and human rights defenders can be targeted by insurgent groups as well as by State actors, warlords, powerful local figures, and organised criminal groups. This is especially the case for those who report on human rights issues (especially women’s rights), critically cover activities of parties in the conflict, expose corruption, criticise impunity or publicly express certain opinions. Journalists are often intimidated and threatened by parties in the conflict in order to cover their version of events. Women journalists are priority targets and are especially vulnerable in those regions where fundamentalist propaganda is adhered to. There are reports of killing, beating, intimidation, detention and mistreatment of journalists.

Human rights defenders’ work can also be considered dangerous throughout Afghanistan because human rights are often seen as an alien, Western or a non-Islamic concept. Intimidation, harassment, threats and violence against human rights defenders and activists by both the authorities and AGEs are documented [COI query on journalists, media workers and human rights defenders; State structure, 1.8.1; Conflict targeting, 1.2.9, 1.5.1, 2.3.; see also the section 2.11.3. Women in public roles].

Risk analysis

The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. killing, detention, beatings).

Not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether or not there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: nature of activities (e.g. journalists and media workers covering conflict-related topics and events, the political situation, corruption and human rights abuses would be at a particularly high risk), visibility of activities and public profile, gender (higher risk for women), area of origin, etc.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is for reasons of (imputed) political opinion.