NAI underlines protection of journalists
Sediqullah Tawhidi, NAI executive director, expressed concerns over plight of journalists and said: “In less than two weeks, we have witnessed two attacks on media outlets. One in Jalalabad in front of Pajhwok Afghan News office and one on Radio Dunya-i-Naween in Parwan.”
A magnetic bomb attached to Pajhwok Afghan News bureau office’s entrance gate went-off last Wednesday night, damaging equipments of the office.
The blast damaged tables, chairs, computers, video cameras and other equipments in the Ghalji Plaza in Jalalabad.
Pajhwok correspondent in Nangarhar, Zeerak Fahim, said two guests of a reporter with the Voice of America Radio station situated next to the Pajhwok bureau were wounded in the blast.
Two weeks back, unidentified gunmen lobbed hand grenade on Dunya-i-Naween Radio station in central Parwan province but caused no casualties.
Tawhidi told journalists in Kabul unidentified gunmen had also targeted Radio Haqiqat in Ghani Khail district of Nangarhar province a month back. He added such incidents needed strong action from government to be prevented.
He said the incidents have raised concerns lest the terrorists have decided to target media outlets.
If such attacks continued then it would create problems for media workers, he said, stressing the government strengthen policy to counter such practice. “Lack of support for freedom of expression is a characteristic of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes.”
Tawhidi said it had been two years that the draft law regulating establishment and operation of mass media has not been approved, which has prevented journalists from basic rights such as retirement allowance, health insurance, transportation services and legal holidays.
“Today journalists and media workers are like the daily labourers. The media authorities hired and fired them without any reasons,” Tawhidi remarked.
Tawhidi said the access to information law was valid in the country, but there were complaints from many provinces that officials did not provide journalists with required information. “I request government to direct officials in capital and provinces to provide information to journalists.”
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