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    Journalists in east denied access to information

    JALALABAD (PAN): Journalists in Afghanistan's eastern provinces on Wednesday accused officials of not giving them the required information in time.

    To discuss the issue, a large number of media professionals held a meeting in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, under the aegis of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    Reporters associated with the South Asian Journalist Union and a body representing media people in southern provinces attended the gathering.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists alleged that reporters were denied access to information in Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan provinces.

    In a statement, the committee accused the officials concerned of switching off their phones when journalists called them for information about an event.

    It also blamed local and foreign troops for refusing to provide journalists early information in the provinces.

    Hospital administrators did not allow photographers to take pictures of wounded people and sometimes sought permission letter from high government officials.

    A reporter working for Radio Liberty, Sher Shah Hamdard, said media outlets in the east were forced into censorship.

    Writer and Journalist Union head, Lal Pacha Azmoon, said reporters had the ability to defend their rights through their representative bodies.

    A day earlier, the Nangarhar governor's spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, condemned two back-to-back blasts that injured a video journalist of Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Abdulzai said Governor Gul Agha Sherzai through a letter to all provincial departments had ordered cooperation with media people in performance of their duty.

    He promised there would be no problem in interviewing government functionaries in the future and provincial departments would help journalist discharge their official obligations.

    ma/mud