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90 percent journalists face problems in access to information

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: 90 percent of Afghan journalists are facing problems for getting access to information, a survey said, published by the NAI, the non-government open media supporter organization.

The survey was conducted in the provinces of Badakhshan, Bamyan, Balkh, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghazni, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar and Takhar.

At least 180 journalists and media men were interviewed and asked whether they faced problems in access to information.

Moreover, the journalists were also asked about three major problems while obtaining information.

Responding to the questions, nearly 90 percent of the journalists and the workers revealed they are facing serious problems while collecting information of an issue.

They charged the government officials for adopting double standards by making excuses and even threatening them.

The interviewees added government officials did not know about the laws of access to information and they are considering only interviews and conferences as the only means of access to information.

They furthered the government had done nothing good regarding sharing information with media with the exception of approving the law of access to information.

Mujib Khilwatgar, executive director of Nai, told a press conference here that nine out of 10 journalists faced hurdles in finding information.

He said government officials are hesitating from facing journalists or extended a limited cooperation to the media by giving interviews and press conferences.

“Journalists say the worst problems they face are threats from government officials when they are asked for information, the threats become serious when journalists prepare investigative reports about corruption,” he said.

However, acting spokesman to the Presidential Palace, Shah Hussain Murtazavi has rejected the survey report by saying as the Nai survey was contradictory to the ground realities.

He pointed out there was no doubt the culture of access to information had not been institutionalized in the past but the current government had taken strong steps in order to support free media and their access to information.

He added the access to information law had been implemented across the country and the presidential order of sharing information with the media outlets has also been enforced as per its soul and spirit.

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