Monday, September 23, 2019
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


The click that’ll cost the Afghan journalist his life

By Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra Afghanistan’s Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh got death sentence for doing something we take for granted in the…

By Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra , in Blogs Global Perspective on Politics , on January 25, 2008

By Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra

Afghanistan’s Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh got death sentence for doing something we take for granted in the western world.

From one website to another, from one link to the next, we share links, download information, post on social networking websites and print it. That’s precisely what the 23-year-old did.

A student at Balkh University, Kambakhsh writes for a local newspaper, the Jahan-e-Naw (The New World).He downloaded an article, printed it and distributed it in his class. The article, reportedly, asked questions which many found offensive to Islam.

Some were quick to point it to authorities, and he was arrested. Accused of blasphemy, he was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel.

And he was not even the author. Online news reports state a Europe-based Iranian journalist wrote the article. All Kambakhsh did was share the article.

So why was he given such a harsh punishment? Institute for War and Peace Reporting says, not for his “crime” but for the “crimes” of his older brother – crimes of fair and fearless reporting, of exposing the truth. Of exposing abuse of the law that governs the land.

Kambakhsh was targeted to “silence” what his journalist brother was doing.

I can sit back in this comfy chair and type my free thoughts for anyone to read and share with a single click. I don’t sit in fear of officials buzzing my apartment and taking me away.

But it doesn’t happen like that in Afghanistan. You think twice before you click.