Afghan media facing serious security, economic challenges
KABUL (Pajhwok): Media activists on Thursday voiced concerns about the security and economic challenges media outlets faced in the country, saying if these challenges were not addressed, some media organisations would cease functioning in near future.
The concerns were raised at a day-long conference on security and economic challenges of Afghan media jointly organised by Pajhwok Afghan News, Radio Liberty and Voice of America’s Ashna TV in Kabul. The conference was attended by government officials, lawmakers and media activists.
It was insisted that due to security, economic and political problems in the country and the withdrawal of most of foreign forces, not only financial sources of some civil society organisations and media outlets had decreased but security threats to the media had increased.
Since 2001, Afghanistan’s vibrant media community has been cited as one of the major achievements along with other gains as hundreds of publications, TV and radio channels and wire services have been established.
Abdul Bari Jahani, Minister of Information and Culture speaking at the conference, said no group had the right to threaten media. He added the media should also work in line with Afghanistan cultural and religious values.
Danish Karokhel, Pajhwok Afghan News Director, said at the moment instead of having the space to deliver media services to the people, the media organisations were struggling with immense security and economic challenges.
He said there were media outlets that were unable to pay up to six months’ wages of their employees and security problems remained a major impediment in their progress.
For coming out of this situation, Karokhel suggested that major national media outlets having no political affiliations or tendencies should be identified first and then mobilised in a network.
“The government, media and civil society should pay attention to media outlets that have wide reach and impact and should help them in achieving their desired goals,” he remarked.
Zafar Hashemi, deputy presidential spokesman, said the government was committed developing media and supporting their activities.
He said the government considered itself responsible for the protection of journalists. President Ghani, he added, had always expressed support for media and media activists.
Najib Sharifi, the Committee to Protect Journalists head, said since 2014 some media outlets had been in economic hardships.
Sharifi added some media organisations were dependent on foreign funding and when these funds were limited they faced financial problems.
If the situation remained the same, a large number of media outlets would be forced to shut down, he warned.
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