Freelance journalist killed in Kandahar

Javed Yazamy, an Afghan freelance cameraman who worked for CTV, Canadian Press and other Canadian outlets, was shot in a drive-by shooting in Kandahar Tuesday.

Yazamy, 23, known by his nickname JoJo, worked as a cameraman, reporter and fixer for media outlets covering the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.

In 2007, Yazamy was detained for 11 months by U.S. forces at Bagram Air Base, before being let go without any explanation for his detention or his release.

Yazamy worked mainly for CTV. CTV president Robert Hurst, who spent a few days touring Kandahar with the  journalist, said:

“I found him a terrific young journalist who was courageous, (who) had a world view — we were very lucky at CTV to have him as a fixer. I think this is a loss for Afghan journalism, in addition to being a loss to international and Canadian journalism. JoJo, as our cameraman in Kandahar area, was directly instrumental in helping us bring the Afghan story home to Canadian living rooms every night. We’re deeply saddened by all of this.”

Yazamy was in the process of gathering reference letters from the Canadians he worked with for his Canadian visitor’s visa application.

In a statement after Yazamy’s death, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression wrote of the young journalist:

“Jojo was known for his persistence. The Globe and Mail’s Graeme Smith tells of Jojo ‘suffering broken bones in a vehicle accident but returning to work the next day to record footage of a bombing scene in Kandahar city.’

Canadian journalist and CJFE member Carol Off said ‘Jojo’s murder is a great loss to all who knew him. And for those who didn’t know him personally, we have lost a dedicated journalist who contributed greatly to our understanding of what is going in Afghanistan.'”