Worried by violence, journalists seek access to info
The issue came up for detailed discussion at a gathering organised by the Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AJC) in Kabul to mark Journalist Day.
Ahmad Quraishi, AJC chairman, said due to presidential elections and departure of foreign forces from the country, last year was full of challenges for reporters.
He added his organisation had noted a 29% increase in violence against journalists this year. “This year we have recorded at least 103 cases of violence against journalists, compared with 80 cases last year.”
At least six journalists and media workers were killed this year. Five of them, including two women, had been murdered and another one lost his life in a suicide attack.
Sixteen more had been wounded, while 17 faced temporary imprisonment, he added.
Danish Karokhel, director of Pajhwok Afghan News, called lack of access to information a major challenge to journalists.
“Fortunately, the access to information law, despite deficiencies, has been ratified by the president. But some departments use the pretext of coordination on releasing information not to cooperate with journalists,” he regretted.
Karokhel asked the government to take practical steps for removing impediments in the way of journalists. “The government might have good intentions when it comes to coordination, but local departments use that as an excuse and do not cooperate at all.”
Siddiqullah Tawhidi, executive director of NAI-Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, said during the presidential campaigns both Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah had promised to support the media and freedom of expression.
The ceremony concluded with Wahid Paiman receiving the reporter of the year award and Mujahid Kakar, Tolo News journalist, honoured with a life-time achievement award.
Meanwhile, seminars and gathering were also conducted in Laghman and Balkh provinces to celebrate the day. Speakers alleged gradual moves towards curbing hard-won media freedom in Afghanistan.
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