Press freedom key to credible polls: UN
KABUL (PAN): The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Friday urged all political stakeholders in the country to join hands in securing press freedom and the right of expression -- the main achievements of the past decade.
On World Press Freedom Day, the mission referred to Afghanistan’s preparations for the presidential elections of 2014, saying press freedom, security of journalists and the right to obtain information would be among the most meaningful channels to a democratic and transparent leadership transition.
World Press Freedom Day, which has only been celebrated since 1993, has much deeper roots in the United Nations: Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
In a statement, the mission said although Afghanistan had made remarkable achievements in the field of media, journalists continued to face daily threats, intimidation and arrests that undermined their ability to operate professionally.
Over the past 45 days alone, the Afghan media watchdog, NAI, has reported 16 cases of violence against journalists. Two of the cases were armed violence, one claimed by anti-government forces and the other by unknown elements,”.
Ján Kubiš, the UN secretary-general’s special representative, said: “Amongst other checks and balances, a vibrant media, with vigorous debate and balanced coverage can help to a greater extent with the transparency and accountability necessary for true democratic participation.”
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