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Lack of access to information threatens journalists

12 Nov 2020 - 14:32
12 Nov 2020 - 14:32

KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Journalists based in southern Kandahar province say their access to information has been restricted and as a result, they are threatened, intimidated and even killed.

Journalists associated with local and foreign news organizations held a meeting at the office of free media supporting organization NAI in Kandahar City, the provincial capital.

During the meeting, the news of the killing of a Radio Azadi journalist, Ilyas Daee, reached the venue, deeply saddening the participants, who prayed for the departed soul and asked the government to explain the incident.

Daee was killed on Thursday when a sticky bomb attached to his vehicle went off in Lashkargah, the capital of neighboring Helmand province. Three others, including Daee’s brother and a child, were wounded in the blast.

The meeting participants in Kandahar strongly condemned the killing of Daee. NAI chief for southern zone, Sami Ghairatmal, said unfortunately problems being faced by journalists had increased including lack of access to information.

He said journalists were denied timely information during incidents of violence and the government except making promises had done nothing so far.

He said restriction on access to information led to threats, intimidation and even killing of journalists, asking the authorities concerned to cooperate with reporters during incidents of violence.

Ghairatmal also said the authorities concerned had failed in protection of journalists and cited the killing of Daee as an example in this regard.

Kandahar press club president Javed Tanvir told the meeting that the lack of access to information had confronted journalists with serious problems in their work.

He said the journalists should not only have access to information but also their work as impartial representatives of people should be respected. He asked the warring sides to pay attention to the lives of journalists.

Other speakers also asked the government to cooperate with journalists in their access to information and warned if their demand was not accepted, they would boycott covering government events.

At the end, the journalists also signed a complaint letter regarding restricted access to information and sent it to media support organizations in Kabul.

The letter says every Afghan has the right to access information as per the relevant law, but lately not only common people and civil society, but journalists are unable to find access to information.

It said this situation has eroded people’s faith in journalists and has paved the way for propagandas and misinformation, resulting in widening the gap between the people and the government and eventually leading to threats, intimidation and even killing of journalists.

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