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Editorial: Hit-and-run

On Sunday in a joint press conference, the spokesman of Ministry of Defense criticized media allegedly for biased and unbalanced reporting. Accompanied by the spokesmen of Ministry of Interior and the National Security Council, the defense ministry’s spokesman said that security situation in Kunduz province was under total control of the military. He rejected the reports that the troops are in defensive mode. The spokesman has urged local media for support and cooperation, but at the same time, termed independent and free reporting a fundamental right of journalists. The two are contradictory statements. Independent journalists always remain neutral because favor to a party makes the reports biased. Reporting and reflecting truth and realities is the duty of the media. Violating the sacred code is a great and unforgiveable sin in journalism. That’s why the journalists cannot use colorful adjectives in support of any organization.

Therefore, the spokesmen should keep performance of the respective ministries and organizations in view when they lambast media. Situation has never been better in Kunduz province. It is an open secret that the Taliban had given tough time to the government; first, by capturing the Kunduz city in September 2015, and then by kidnapping and killing passengers on the Kabul-Kunduz Highway. Dwellers in the province and travelers have repeatedly urged the security agencies to improve security on the highway and eliminate the insurgents as the Taliban are posing great threats.

Unfortunately, the pleas fell on deaf ears. The cold-shoulder response and failed security policies resulted in kidnapping of around 200 passengers on the Kabul-Kunduz highway on May 31. Twelve passengers were killed by the fanatics. On June 8, the militant group once again abducted 47 passengers in Khanabad district of Kunduz. If the law and order situation is satisfactory in the province then from where Taliban come and kidnap passengers on gunpoint? Why the insurgents still exists and enjoy safe havens in the province when the security forces are not in defensive mode? The government officials should stop throwing dust into public’s eyes. Rather than plugging the loopholes, the authorities criticize media and blame others for their failures.

Burying truth will not only cost credibility of media outlets but also the trust in the government. Trust deficit between the security agencies and public is increasing. Killing of 18-year old Farzad in Herat province by a vehicle part of President Ghani’s motorcade is another stain on the security apparatus’s performance. Only justice in this hit-and-run case will wash this stain. An over-speeding government vehicle hit bicycle of Farzad. Sadly, the driver did not stop to help the young boy. The security personnel who are supposed to protect people are hitting them, and then leaving them to die. How can media turn a blind eye to the realities and fool public just for the sake of a few officials who want to blanket their failures?

That’s why these officials should focus on improving their performance instead of blaming the victims or criticizing the true servants of the nation. Therefore, the government should provide justice to the family of Farzad by punishing all those who were in the vehicle and killed the eighteen years old.

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