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    Ministry honours journalists in Kabul

    KABUL CITY (PAN): The Ministry of Information and Culture on Saturday awarded appreciation letters to several journalists in recognition of their services at a ceremony marking the launch of an English language, computer and journalism training programme in Kabul.

    Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Information and Culture Minister Taimor Shah Ishaqzai said the training programme would continue until next month.

    Course participants would be trained by the Kabul University Journalism faculty lecturers, he said, and also hinted at another training programme for Afghan journalists would be conducted in India.

    He said local reporters would be sent to India for the month-long programme. "We have obtained the freedom of speech in the country at the cost of many precious lives of journalists," he said, calling the freedom of press as one of the government's greatest achievements over the past decade.

    Meanwhile, journalists announced the creation of a committee "Voice of Youth" aimed at highlighting problems facing the journalist community.

    Information and Culture Minister Syed Makhdom Rahin said it was a good move to recognise journalists for their work, saying such programmes would help in promoting journalism.

    National Journalist Union head Abdul Hameed Mubariz on the occasion said there were only a handful of journalists in Afghanistan a decade ago, but now a large number of media outlets, including print, electronic and audio, are operating across the country amid security threats.

    He said journalists were not only the reason for the freedom of press, but their presence also guaranteed rights of common individuals.

    He thanked the ministry as it was the first time the government had commended journalists.

    He said such programmes have been effective in encouraging journalists towards their duty and asked young reporters to avail such opportunities.

    Speaking on behalf of fellow journalists, Zabihullah Zahir, a reporter with Shamshad private television channel, said it was the duty of the government to protect journalists from violence and asked the ministry concerned to encourage more media organisations.

    Mm/ma/vp