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    Body protecting journalists' rights set up

    KABUL (PAN): A 50-member committee for defending the rights of journalists on Monday started working in the framework of the Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA), an official said.

    The body would defend the freedom of expression, rights of journalists, support the mass media law and arrange training courses on legal issues for media professionals, said the AIBA president, Roohullah Qarizada.

    Some journalists were awarded harsher punishments in certain cases due to a lack of defence lawyers to protect their rights, according to Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Mubarez Rashidi, who also present at the media briefing.

    Without going into details, he said: "From now on, the problem will be resolved. We will try to convince the relevant state organs to set up a special court for trying media-related cases."

    Rashidi said his ministry was working on two draft laws supporting the rights of journalist. The drafts had already been sent to the Ministry of Justice for vetting.

    One of the proposed laws pertains to reporters' access to information and the other to rules for media outlets. The first draft requires officials to provide timely information to journalists.

    "This draft gives journalists the right to prosecute the government officials who avoid giving them information," the deputy minister added.