AT-KABUL: The Embassy of Sweden and the EU Delegation hosted a conference on ‘Journalist Security and Freedom of Expression’ on Tuesday here.
Seventy five participants, most of them Afghan journalists from across the country, engaged in the discussions. The event became a strong manifestation in defense of freedom of expression.
The conference raised the attention of the difficult situation for journalists and media workers in
Afghanistan and honored all journalists that had been victims of violence.
In his opening address, Sweden’s Ambassador Anders Sjöberg, commended the Afghan government on the new by-law on Establishment and Activity of Private Mass Media and called for swift implementation. He also underscored the importance of increasing the efforts to end impunity. “Those who threaten, injure or kill journalists must be brought to justice,” the ambassador said.
Participants also underlined that the work of female journalists particularly need to be furthered and that it is crucial to provide insights into the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, but also to offer a more broad-based journalistic approach on society.
Ambassador Sjöberg and Mr. Stefan Huber, Chargé d’affaires at the EU Delegation, strongly condemned the indefensible attacks on representatives of media and freedom of expression.
Journalists and media workers are civilian targets and attacks on them constitute a clear violation of international law.
They said that the people of Afghanistan have in the last decade enjoyed a high level of freedom of the press and expression. These achievements need to be protected and respected by all parties. The organizers reiterated their continued support for strengthening journalists and media workers security and freedom of expression in Afghanistan.
There was broad consensus to further advance the development of the press and to provide space for journalists to conduct their work without fear for harassment.