Ghazni journalists complain of threats from officialsBy Mirwais Himmat Feb 20, 2012 - 17:10
GHAZNI CITY (PAN): Reporters who covered the story regarding the collapse of a wall and a tower of an ancient fort in southern Ghazni province on Monday complained of receiving threats from local officials.
A reporter with a private television channel, Syed Qadir Wafa, said he had been threatened twice by officials after he filed the story on the deteriorating condition of the historic fort.
The Tolo TV reporter told Pajhwok Afghan News the officials said his report regarding the Qala-i-Ghaznain was wrong and incomplete.
A BBC reporter, Asadullah Jalalzai, said the officials had accused reporters of filing an inaccurate and negative report. He added reporters were denied information by the officials concerned about the collapse of the fort’s wall and tower.
Officials had threatened reporters over the telephone several times for writing about the fort, accusing the journalists of not incorporating their quotes, said a reporter with the Bust-i-Bastan News Agency, Mohammad Husain Rahimi.
“Reporters were told at a meeting with officials at the governor’s house last week that they had lied in their reports. Such allegations are restricting the freedom of speech and activities of media,” he remarked.
Other journalists also complained of highhandedness of police and some other government departments in the province.
About 20 days ago, when the US ambassador visited the province, police did not allow reporters to enter the governor’s house, forcing them into boycotting the meeting.
On February 18, the provincial council summoned the director of information and cultural affairs to answer questions about the fort’s deteriorating condition.
A dozen of public representatives defended the rights of journalists, saying they were impartial and had filed balanced reports.
But Information Director Hamidullah Sarwari said the tower had not collapsed. Instead a house had crumbled on top of the tower. Journalists thought the tower had collapsed, he explained.
On February 12, a group of reporters visited the information director for his comments regarding the collapse of the Saqaw tower, but he refused to answer their questions.
Provincial council members said both the house and the tower had collapsed.