KABUL (Pajhwok): Kabul-based diplomatic missions have celebrated World Press Freedom Day, promising support to Afghan journalists.
Afghanistan’s vibrant media was one of the country’s greatest success stories of the last two decades, more than a dozen missions said in a joint statement.
Australia, Canada, Denmark, the EU Delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the US and the United Kingdom promised support for the Afghan media.
The joint statement called a free and independent media and a strong media sector an essential part of an inclusive and representative Afghanistan.
Free and independent journalists and media organisations were necessary to help tackle corruption and allow people to participate meaningfully in democracy, with access to accurate information, the statement added.
The media is integral to building public support, creating a shared understanding and support for peace and any future political settlement to the conflict, holding to account those who would oppose peace for their own narrow political ends. the press release reads.
“As Afghanistan’s international friends and partners, we reaffirm our commitment to stand by its journalists and the media sector. We continue to support Afghan journalists to stand up for their rights and to oppose undue restrictions on their work.
“More still must be done. The campaign of violence against journalists and media professionals must end. Journalists must be protected,” the diplomatic missions stressed.
They called for bring to justice the perpetrators of violence and murder against workers. They noted female journalists and media professionals were particularly at risk.
“The impunity for such crimes remains a serious challenge and creates a chilling environment, limiting the media sector’s ability to operate freely,” the joint statement elaborated.
Many Afghans have sacrificed their time, energy, money and, for some, their lives to build this crucial public good. “We pledge our continued support in defence of a free and independent Afghan media.”