Journalists form umbrella body
KABUL (PAN): Nine journalist bodies and organisations on Sunday announced the formation of an umbrella body called "Afghanistan Federation of Journalists (AFJ)", aimed at safeguarding rights of reporters and fighting for press freedom.
The announcement came at a meeting in Kabul attended by representatives of journalist associations and media rights groups, who had been mulling the formation over the past three years.
Participants signed a memorandum of understanding on the federation that involves National Union of Journalists, National Union of Afghan Reporters and Journalists, South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) (Afghanistan), South Asia Women Media (Afghanistan), Afghan Female Journalists Association, Free Media Association of Afghan Journalists, Afghan Journalists Defense Committee and Nai, a free media supporting organisation.
The meeting issued a joint declaration, saying they had agreed to the federation's rules and principles and their primary objective was to support the freedom of speech and protect journalists, and making joint efforts to have access to information for the sake of an improved Afghan media.
It further said their goal was to have improved media laws and enhanced relations with international media advocacy organisations to push for the freedom of speech in Afghanistan.
National Union of Journalists President Khpalwak Sapi, who read out the declaration, said a two-year programme, highlighting the problems being faced by Afghan media, would be launched soon.
Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) Director Danish Karokhel hoped the federation would help enhance coordination among media outlets in their struggle to preserve their hard-won freedom and achieve their rights.
He said coordination could enable journalists to realise their goals. He called the federation a historic achievement that would allow journalists to have a new voice.
Afghanistan National Union of Journalists president, Fahim Dashti, said the federation would work for removing hurdles to efforts at achieving the freedom of speech.
Sapi said the AFJ members would enter soon their maiden session to confer on future plans.
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