Journalists complain of coverage restrictions
The traditional Loya Jirga, discussing the strategic partnership agreement with the US and setting up a mechanism for the peace talks with Afghan militants, commenced amid tight security arrangements on Wednesday morning in Kabul.
Media representatives, trying to inform the masses about the proceedings on a daily basis, were not allowed to enter jirga hall and interview participants on first day.
Reporters were taken in groups to the hall by information wing officials of the Loya Jirga Secretariat on second day (Thursday). Each group had 10 journalists talking to participants of the four-day gathering.
The journalists were searched for an hour by security personnel at five points. They were still not allowed to interview the participants they wanted to speak with. Instead they were asked to briefly interview the delegates selected by the officials.
Officials on duty did not want the participants to talk negatively about the event. As a result, the reporters were not allowed to interview the delegates, Abdul Fatah Yasir, a reporter with the Maiwand TV channel, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
"We are unable to report the proceedings comprehensively. All media reports have one view," Yasir added, referring to restrictions from the authorities concerned.
"Going to the jirga hall, returning to hotel and body searches are a tiring process," remarked Fateh Muhammad Baha of Radio Liberty.
According to Safia Siddiqui, spokeswoman for the jirga, the curbs were prompted by security considerations.
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