A number of Afghan media officials declared that the government is trying to impose to put pressure and impose restrictions on media.
They stated that several officials of media outlets summoned by the ministry of information and culture is contrary to the constitutions and considers the beginning of restrictions on media.
Simultaneously with the beginning of May 3, World Press Freedom Day, the ministry of information and culture summoned officials of four newspapers due to alleged of violation of media.
Nazari Paryani, director of Mandegar newspaper said, “The threatening written to four newspapers in the World Press Freedom Day indicates that the government is trying to implement the rule of violence on media outlets.”
“The ministry of information and culture’s action that summoned officials of four newspapers is alarming and putting pressures on media outlets may cause the return of past.” Muhammad Jawad Sultani, director of Jame Baz newspaper said.
Meanwhile, Afghan media watchdog; Nai-supporting open media in Afghanistan warned that any pressure and censorship by the ministry of information and culture would harm the freedom of speech in Afghanistan.
The watchdog also considered the activities of complaint commission of media contrary to the constitutions.
“While the minister of information and culture must prepared a large program for the World Press Freedom Day, but unfortunately, he summoned officials of several media due to accusation of media violations which is a threat against media by the government itself,” Sidiqullah Tawhidi, head of Supporting Open media in Afghanistan said.
In the meantime, the executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah called for the clarification of media officials summoned by the ministry of information and culture.
Press freedom is one of the important achievements of the past ten years of current government of Afghanistan, which has been obtained with the involvement and support of the international community.
Now that the gradual withdrawal of the international troops are speeding up and the talks with the Taliban, who from the roots of their believe are against the freedom of speech and media activities, is getting serious, it puts the press freedom in an awkward position and uncertain future.
The number of mass media is growing remarkably every year. Most of these media are dependent on the international donor funding in one way or another.
Ten years after the involvement and presence of international community in Afghanistan, the deadly incidents and violations against reporters and media personnel are about the same as it was in the first years of post Taliban. Media activists in Afghanistan still face serious challenges.
Although media outlets have proliferated in the private sector in Afghanistan, the Afghan press is hobbled by insufficient security, lack of access for their investigations, serious revenue and funding shortfalls, stalled legislation for freedom of the press, change-wary socio-cultural norms that tend to undercut the wide dissemination of news and skirt in the presentation of scientific/technological and foreign information.
Media have managed to produce serious talk shows about the topics of great importance the country is currently facing. The non-government media monitor and observe the situation via their round table discussion programs.
These programs usually criticize the government activities, the policies of involved countries into Afghanistan affairs as well as the policies of the international community.
Discussing the mentioned topics, unveiling the wrongdoings of government and international community, disclosing the involvement of high ranking government officials in corruption and exposing the irregularity and hidden secrets of the society are among the main positive achievements of media in the past ten years in the country.
Reported by Rafi Sidiqi