Wednesday, June 06, 2007

RIP Zakia Zaki

Zakia Zaki (center) was a rare female voice in Afghan media

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35-year old Zakia Zaki was shot seven times, including in the chest and head, as she slept with her 20-month-old son at her home north of Kabul. She worked as a reporter and a schoolteacher (headmistress of a local school), one of the few female journalists in Afghanistan to speak out during the Taliban's rule. She ran for parliament in 2005.

She headed the US-funded station, Sada-e-Sulh or "Voice of Peace" a / k / a Radio Peace, since it opened after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kabul says that at times Zaki criticized the former mujahideen, some of who have been implicated in war crimes.

The attackers were three men armed with pistols and rifles, who broke into Zaki's house and got into the bedroom. An older son, aged three, was with her at the time of the attack, but none of her six children were injured. Observers note that the motive behind the murder is far from clear, and a massive police operation is now underway to identify and arrest the killers.

USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios listens to journalists of Pajhwok Afghan News with Managing Editor Farida Nekzad.

She recently received warnings from powerful local commanders to tone down her reporting, according to the Afghan Independent Journalists Association. "This is a very bad day for female journalists. Our work is becoming increasingly dangerous," said Farida Nekzad of Pajhwok, an Afghan news agency, after returning from Zaki's funeral.

Some speculate Zaki's slaying was an "honor killing", indeed it comes less than a week after the murder of a popular 22-year-old television presenter, Shakiba Sanga Amaaj, who was also shot dead in her family home in the capital.

A suspect has been arrested in the Sanga Amaj case, and some reports suggest that her murder was an act of revenge for spurning a proposal of marriage.

Reporters Without Borders has suggested that even if a family feud is behind the "cowardly" killing of Shakiba, Afghan authorities should not overlook her professional activities as their investigation proceeds.

Last month Malalai Joya, Afghanistan's most outspoken female parliamentarian, was banned from the national assembly after she compared her fellow MPs to barnyard animals. Meanwhile in the conflict-affected southern provinces hundreds of girls' schools have closed following a Taliban anti-education campaign of intimidation and arson.

Other Keyboards:
Honoring an Afghan Leader--by Mahbouba Seraj
Without Further Comment
Убита журналистка, директор радио "Мир"....
Afganistanska novinarka ubijena u svojoj kući
Afgañska dyrektorka radia zastrzelona
Una giornalista e' stata uccisa in Afghanistan, e' la seconda in 7 ...
Proprietária de rádio é morta a tiros no Afeganistão

A reader sent me an email expressing concern that there is a war going on between Islam and The Female Sex. At the same time, Kizzie posts (Female Genital Circumcision) FGM from an African, Muslim and Female point of view....

Two years ago, in May 2005, a presenter on the private Tolo Television, was shot dead in her Kabul home in a case that remains unsolved. Shaima Rezaee had been criticized for what some regarded as her Western style and appearance. I found this picture on an old Tolo TV website. "Shaima Rezayee, an Afghan television presenter, is seen in this image taken from television footage shown on February 17, 2005. A gunman shot and killed Rezayee on May 18, 2005, two months after she was fired from her job on a pop music programme after complaints from religious conservatives. Rezayee, 24, was killed in her home in Kabul, police said."

Media employees in Gaza say they fear for their lives after an Islamist group issued a proclamation threatening workers at the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).

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