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Media censorship increased in Afghanistan: Nai

AT-KABUL: Nai- Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, a media watchdog, in its report on Monday revealed that media censorship has increased in the country drastically.

The survey covering over 335 news reporters in 25 provinces of the country said the situation for the press has not improved under the National Unity Government.

Seventy-two percent of the respondents in the survey claimed that media censorship in Afghanistan has increased, 14 percent reporters said they are asked for on-and-off censorship, and 13 percent of reporters have said there is no censorship.

Nai said that media censorship is noticeable in Kandahar, Helmand, Khost, Herat, Farah, Ghor, Badghis, Logar, Ghazni, Laghman, Zabul and Samangan provinces. Journalists in Bamyan, Balkh and Baghlan provinces said that media is free in their provinces.

Addressing a press conference, the executive director of Nai, Abdul Mujib Khalwatgar, said that only 53 reporters from Kabul complained about censorship.

He said that majority of reporters from Badakhshan, Nangarhar, Kapisa and Parwan provinces said that there are restrictions over press freedom in their provinces while a small number of news reporters reported intermittent censorship.

Replying to a question, he said that 48 percent of the respondents accused the government of imposing restrictions over media freedom while 46 percent respondents said that censorship is imposed by local powerful individuals.

Forty percent respondents reported self-censorship and another 25 percent of reporters said that the Taliban insurgents compelled them to censor certain reports.

The survey found that military, political and judiciary-related news are the most important issues that are censored by the government.

The assessment also realized that mostly powerful individuals impose restrictions over media to prevent broadcasting of violence against women and violation of laws.

The reporters who prefer self-censorships said that they always could not provide reports about crimes, suicide attacks, military and narcotics trafficking.

The survey also said that the Taliban pressurize media to restrain from broadcasting terrorist casualties and the achievements of Afghan security forces against militants.

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