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Journalism Watchdog Opens Center For Women Journalists In Afghanistan

Radio Sahar is a women's community radio station in Herat, Afghanistan

Reporters Without Borders has launched a center to protect women journalists in Afghanistan, the second-most dangerous country for female reporters after Syria.

The center will lobby for better working conditions and rights for women reporters, including combating discrimination in the workplace. It will also work to change perceptions that journalism is no job for a woman.

"We want to support women journalists both in war zones and within the news organizations for which they work, to defend both their rights and their physical safety," the center's president, Farideh Nikzad, said.

The biggest challenges are security and sexual abuse in the workplace, Nikzad said.

"By protecting women journalists, we are defending media freedom in Afghanistan," the group's secretary-general, Christophe Deloire, said.

The country currently has some 300 to 400 women journalists, mainly in the big cities.

They find themselves caught between Taliban militants on the one hand and their own families on the other, who often do not consider the job to be a suitable profession for a woman.

Four women journalists have been killed by relatives since 2002 for this reason, while 13 women media workers have been killed by outside forces since 2001, the center said.

With reporting by AFP