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Editorial: Journalists blocking spree

Afghanistan deems freedom of expression inviolable and strictly guarantees its protection and support it in this regard. Freedom of expression is indeed one of the biggest achievements after the collapse of the Taliban regime. The incumbent and former governments were proud of this valuable success, and vowed to protect the free press. This was not an easy journey; the Afghan journalists have put day and night efforts to discharge its obligation honestly and transparently. They immensely played their parts as bridges between the masses and the government in the most difficult atmosphere, but in a very effective way. This is indeed a golden achievement for both, the government and the people. The Mass Media Law of Afghanistan has also specified an executive framework of freedom of expression. This law will protect freedom of expression from any type of violation and does not allow any pre-publication or post-publication censorship. The members of media outlets had several times gathered under one roof to raise their voices in concern about the fast shrinking space for the free expression of ideas and opinions and increasingly limited access to information. Even they are threatened. It’s a fact that Afghanistan is increasingly unsafe for journalists. We lost many of our members in nearly 20 years of our voyage. But still we are firm in our duty, and will keep informing our countrymen over up-to-date issues. Even we are being blocked by some government officials without any logical reason. It has further ranted and raved when a number of journalists and civil society activists were blocked by the Da Afghanistan Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmady. He had taken the most exasperating steps to save his face from reporters over his incompetence. Journalists are asking him to give out the cctv video of the central bank when some uninvited people visited his office. It was also reported that electricity was cut down at the time of the visit. It’s an important issue for the Afghan people and the government itself.  The US embassy in Kabul reacted over his blocking spree of journalists, saying that transparency is the foundation of the democratic government. Afghans should be proud of their journalists, not blocking them. Now we are waiting for the senior leadership of the government to react against censorship and journalists being blocked by a senior official for only demanding answers to questions.

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