9 May 2018 - RPS Partnership
A week ago, at least 26 people were killed in two bombings on Monday 30 April 2018 in the Afghan capital Kabul, including several journalists documenting the scene, making it one of the deadliest days in Afghan media in the past 15 years. It is now maybe the time to reflect on how we can save lives in the future.
Afghanistan remains in the top 5 most dangerous countries for working as a journalist; including Syria, Ecuador, India and Mexico in that list.
The first explosion in Kabul was carried out by an attacker on a motorbike. A second explosion then followed about 15 minutes later after a crowd, including several reporters, had gathered at the scene. Officials say that 9 journalists and 4 police officers were among the dead, while 45 people had been reported injured. In a second, separate incident a BBC Journalist was killed in the Khost Region of Afganhistan.
In a third attack, which took place in Kandahar province, a suicide bombing, intending to target NATO troops, resulted in the deaths of 11 children and NATO staff.
The media have been highlighted in these attacks as they are often in the wrong place and wrong time due to their work. Unarmed and with little protection, they cover news, documentaries and provide online information. Working in conflict, post conflict and difficult environments, covering international events along with stories of criminals, mafia and corruption, it is most often local journalists working for local media outlets, as well as providing reports for international media houses who get caught up.
Often they are forgotten about in the rush to get the news stories; their safety should and must be taken as seriously as that of international journalists.
Most of the nine journalists killed in the blasts were working for Afghan broadcasters and the words “they rushed to the scene” has taken on a very sombre reflection. We challenge the local and the two international broadcasters to ask themselves:
• What security and first aid training did they provide for their staff in security and most importantly first aid?
• What protective equipment did they provide for them? Ballistic vests (“Flak jackets”) and helmets, first aid kits, tourniquets and trauma bandages?
• Did they have contingency plans in place to deal with this type of incident? How will the families of their staff be looked after and did they have insurance in place to help ease the loss of, in many cases, the bread winner in the family?
We encourage journalists to attend training which covers many subjects which are all designed to increase their awareness of the threats and how to minimise them; personal security, weapons and bomb/IED awareness, civil unrest, checkpoints and the subjects which often directly save lives is emergency and trauma first aid. The secondary devices in many terrorist attacks have killed more journalists than they should.
Contact us at RPS Partnership if you need any advice or training for your local staff and we can bring the training to you in your country. To find out more about any of our training courses, please do contact us on email@example.com
Photo: with thanks to The Hindu