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Nai blasts NSC’s decision on access to information

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Amidst a decision by the National Security Council (NSC) that limited the access of reporters to information about security related incidents, Nai-Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan on Wednesday criticized the decision, and said it was against access to information law.

Bokhdi News Agency quoted the chief of Nai, Sediqullah Tawhidi, as saying that the decision limits the access of reporters to information, and on the other side it yields in creating hurdles for preparing reports and also damages the balance of a news story.

The NSC recently issued a resolution where it prevented newsmen from access to spokesmen of police chiefs in provinces, and said it was the duty of the Interior Ministry’s spokesman to respond to queries of reporters and provide them information about security-related incidents.

Moreover, the resolution has deprived reporters of gaining information about military operations and visiting sites of operations.

The NSC said in the resolution that newsmen should visit the office of the Interior Ministry’s spokesman if they want to receive information about any incident related to security.

The access to information law was passed by the parliament last year and then it was signed by President Ashraf Ghani. Draft of the law was rounding public offices for assessment and observation for three years and finally it was passed after several suggestions by civil society and rights organizations.

Tawhidi said the NSC decision cannot be implanted and it is against the law of access to information.

According to the law, media outlets and citizens have the right to have access to information including information about military operations. The law also allows reporters to put pressure on state and non-state organizations for providing information to them.

“The decision includes spokesmen of police chiefs in provinces and cuts their relation with media therefore their duty will not have any value if their right was taken,” he added. He said that the NSC’s decision hampers the process of preparing reports. He urged the president and the NSC to review the resolution.

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