An international media rights group has condemned the murder of a former presenter of a controversial Afghan television music show whom police suspect was slain by her own brothers, officials said tod

An international media rights group has condemned the murder of a former presenter of a controversial Afghan television music show whom police suspect was slain by her own brothers, officials said today (May 20).

Shaima Rezayee, 24, was shot in the head at her Kabul home on Wednesday. Reporters Without Borders said she was the first journalist to be killed in Afghanistan since the end of the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 which ousted the Taliban regime.

"This horrible murder proves that press freedom still cannot be taken for granted in Afghanistan," the Paris-based group said, calling for a thorough investigation and concrete measures by President Hamid Karzai to support free expression.

Rezayee had been dismissed in March from independent Tolo TV after clerics criticized her show as being "anti-Islamic." Soon after, she said in a radio interview that she had heard rumors someone wanted to kill her, possibly because of the show.

Since the fall of the Taliban, which banned television altogether, numerous private channels have started up, some drawing criticism from religious leaders who oppose programs that show women singing. Tolo TV in particular has drawn fire, with clerics mounting campaigns for it to be banned. Reporters Without Borders said conservatives had criticized Rezayee for her liberal behavior on screen.

Jamil Khan, head of the criminal investigation department for Kabul police, declined to comment on a possible motive for the killing, but said police would question Rezayee's two brothers after her funeral. "We suspect family members may be involved in the murder," he said, without elaborating on why the family may have wanted her dead.

He said the victim was murdered with a single shot to the head while she was in her house. Some family members were home at the time, he added. Family members could not immediately be reached for comment.


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