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‘Journalism is sacred work’: Afghanistan’s front line reporters

Robyn Huang and Matt Reichel

21 Jul 2021

Afghanistan ranks as one of the world’s worst countries for journalism. Yet despite targeted killings and an uncertain future, reporters are not turning away from the profession.

Kabul, Afghanistan – It was about 8am on a Monday morning in April 2018 when Bushra Seddique felt the multi-storey apartment building she was living in with her family in Kabul’s Shash Darak district shake. Smoke billowed from the street below.

She barely had time to process what was happening as her father rushed the family out of the house, past the injured and the dead, but she remembers seeing journalists running, cameras in hand, towards the scene of the explosion.

Half an hour later, a second explosion went off; nine reporters who had arrived at the initial blast site were killed.

It was the first time Seddique, who is now 21, had witnessed the dangers Afghan journalists face. “It was traumatic, but inspiring to see their bravery and commitment,” she says.

At the time Seddique was in the second year of her journalism programme at Kabul University. She has now graduated and is embarking on her career with a mixture of determination and trepidation.

“Over the last few years, we have lost many journalists to bombings and targeted killings, and this is tragic and scary,” she explains. “It’s disappointing for me and anyone trying to grow their experience as a reporter.

“But I still want to continue,” she adds. “By choosing to pursue journalism, I already accepted the barriers and difficulties of working in this field in this country.”

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