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    Culture

    Journalists facing problems to access information

    KABUL (PAN): Government officials have not been giving information to reporters when contacted, journalists complained on Sunday.

    A government spokesman promised the issue would be resolved with a law on access to information.

    The main challenge for journalists is that government officials were not providing journalists the information, Zarghona Roshan, a reporter for Salam Watandar Radio Network, said.

    "I went to the Attorney General’s Office to complete a report about the rights of children and there the officials were refereeing me from one department to another. I finally could not get the information I required," she said.

    Journalists play the role of a bridge between the government and the public, therefore officials should share information with the public through media, but unfortunately they had not been doing so, said Abdul Matin, a reporter of Gurbat TV.

    He added most often officials at the Ministry of Public Health were not willing to be interviewed on healthcare issues.

    Media Watch director Sadiqullah Tawhidi said though the draft law of access to information was prepared by civil society organisations and law-making institutions and submitted to the Ministry of Information and Culture six months ago, it was yet to be approved. 

    He said the law enables journalists to access any information that was not restricted by the Constitution. The Law also urges officials to cooperate with media men, he said, explaining there was punishment for those who refused to give information based on the law.

    Information Ministry spokesman Zaryalai Nawabi also confirmed that members of the media had faced with problems in accessing information.

    The law on access to information has to be approved by the Council of Ministers and then referred to Parliament for endorsement. Currently, the draft was under discussion by the Association of Journalists, which increased the number of articles from 24 to 50. The law would then be assessed by the Ministry of Justice.

    Nawabi expected the law would resolve the journalists’ problems in accessing the information.

    mm/frm/mbg



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