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Abdullah vows to protect journalists’ rights

Abdullah vows to protect journalists’ rights

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May 08, 2017 - 18:54

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on Monday promised serious steps for protection of journalists and their rights.

Abdullah, addressing a Worldinfo-icon Press Freedom Day ceremony in his office on Sunday, also distributed appreciation letters to some journalists.

Talking on behalf of other journalists, Pajhwok Director Danish Karokhel said freedom of speech still faced with great challenges in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

These challenges could be overcome if the government cooperated with the media, he believed, adding: “The current press freedom in Afghanistan is achieved at the cost of journalists’ blood and we would continue our struggle in this area.”

Karokhel asked journalists and media organizations to keep national interests supreme over the press freedom.

He said journalists paid millions of afghanis in tax to the government annually, but the government did not count their deeds as work experience.

“Journalists perform a sacred job, they pay tax to the government, but it is unfair that their work experience is not considered for a government job,” he said.

He said most media outlets currently struggled with economic crisis and they had been unable to pay even salaries to journalists.

 “Media outlets pay monthly salaries to their workers and if their pensions are paid by the government, it would be a great help to them,” he said.

Karokhel said access to information consumed great efforts but government organs were not cooperative in this regard.

Speaking on the occasion, CEO Abdullah said many government organs including the National Security Council (NSC), had recently discussed journalists’ problems and solutions to them.

“The problems Mr. Karokhel mentioned would be shared with the Council of Ministers and others to seek solutions to them,” he said.

Abdullah also said journalists performed a dangerous job and they had rendered many sacrifices in line of duty.

 “The government should count journalists’ experiences, I will follow this issue, if the problem is with the law then the law should be amended,” the CEO added.

He said freedom of speech in Afghanistan was a clear result of journalists’ sacrifices. Abdullah also asked journalists to responsibly file reports and respect the law. The national unity government strongly supported journalists and press freedom, he said.

Deputy information and culture minister, Sayed Fazil Aqa Sancharaki, said journalists and media sometimes committed mistakes and government’s relations with reporters depended on the situation at hand.

He acknowledged not prosecuting killers of journalists had encouraged crimes against the community.

Sancharaki asked media outlets owners to be attentive to journalists’ rights rather than flourishing their businesses.

“We sent a letter to all media owners in which we requested information about journalists’ contracts with them,” he said. He added 55 media outlets had closed due to economic problems.

At the end of the conference, Pajhwok Afghan News journalist Abasin Zaheer and some other reporters and civil societyinfo-icon activists received appreciation letters from the CEO.

A day earlier, President Ashraf Ghani gave away appreciation letters to a number of journalists including Pajhwok reporter Mohammad Hassan Khetab.

mds/ma

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