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EU lauds Afghan govt on media bylaw

AT-KABUL: The European Union on Tuesday has lauded the Afghan government for issuing a new bylaw on the Establishment and Activity of Private Mass Media.

“We now need to see the bylaw implemented and call upon the Afghan government to make sure that this happens,” said EU Special Representative Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin.

“The EU commends the Afghan government on the new bylaw that is a step forward for a free and critical press in Afghanistan. Already Afghanistan has one of the most professional press corps in the region,” he said.

Freedom of the press and expression are fundamental rights of any free society and is strongly supported by the EU, a media statement issued by the EU said.

According to the statement, the people of Afghanistan have enjoyed a high level of freedom of the press and expression in the last decade. This is a key to further development of a democratic society in Afghanistan.

The new bylaw issues minimum requirements in a number of important areas like for instance contracts, safety, insurance, including medical insurance, and pension for media workers.

A week ago President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree in which the government institutions were directed to treat media according to the mass media law.

Furthermore, judicial and security organizations of the country were also banned from “irresponsibly” arresting the media-persons including journalists and media managers.

However, complaints against any media outlet should be lodged at the commission of the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) to investigate media violations.

Furthermore, the law prevents the Attorney General Office from accepting complaints against media. The complaints should be referred to the commission on media violations in the MoIC.

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