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Balkh journalists threaten to boycott govt’s coverage

Balkh journalists threaten to boycott govt’s coverage

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Jan 26, 2019 - 16:57

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Journalists in northern Baklh province on Saturday threatened to withdraw coverage of government activities if government officials continued to deny sharing information with the media.

The journalists, who held a gathering in Mazar-i-Sharif, the Balkh capital, said that 1397 solar yearinfo-icon was a worst year for them in term of access to information.

Bashir Ansari, head of Journalists Protection Committee in the north and in charge of Aiana News agency in Balkh, said almost all government organs in the province did not treat the media well.

Citing an example, he said the Balkh customs office, the public healthinfo-icon and refugee and repatriation departments and police neglected journalists in providing them information.

“Government departments do not share information that even can change people’s mind positively toward the government”, he said.

“Some officials in Balkh try to censor journalists, which is against the law”, Ansari said, warning to boycott covering reports of departments reluctant to help share information with journalists.

Arif Musavi, a journalist with Tolo News in Balkh, also said that government offices in Balkh often denied information to the media.

Pointing to Friday’s incident in which police surrounded the Afghan-Turk School in Mazar-i-Sharif, he said no one provided them information about the issue.

He said he tried to reach the incident area but police did not allow him to take photos even from hundreds of meters away from the area. “Such acts of government organs create problems for freedom of speech and the officials concerned should stop it”, he added.

A number of journalists in Balkh say government organs’ interaction with the media has been discriminatory.

Lotfullah Raufi, a local TV station manager in Balkh, said most of government officials used to share information with only popular media outlets or those they had relations with.

He said discriminatory interaction of government officials with local media remained hurdle to its development. Raufi asked journalist associations and the Balkh governor’s house to address the problem.

Mubina Khair Andish, head of Nai, an organization that supports open media in Afghanistaninfo-icon, also said they had received many complaints from Balkh journalists in recent past.

She said a defence committee comprised of journalists and media outlets would be created to respond to the mentioned problems.

The Balkh governor’s house refused to comment on the matter.

mds/ma

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