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Editorial: Walk the talk!

A watchdog has alleged that the government has perpetrated almost half of the violence against journalists in 2019 – including intimidation, beating and temporary detentions – while utterly flying in the face of the establishment’s stern claims about protecting journalists. The findings of a media advocacy group named Journalists’ Safety Committee revealed that although there has been a decline in murders of journalists last year, the total number of cases of violence towards the media community stood at 105. Staggeringly, this time around the government is ranked 2nd after the Taliban for indulging in such horrible activities. Meanwhile, women also constitute a fraction of the total number of transgressions committed last year.

This is while the government is expected to be the role model for promoting and executing the rights of media persons. How would the government control and prevent the warlords and strongmen from violating the journalists’ legitimate rights when it is the one that trample on them? Therefore, the government’s claims and criticisms of the violation of journalists’ rights seem rich, considering it is the government authorities who deny the very rights and morals they are advocating. There needs to be a strong determination for walking the talk. As the journalists are still bearing the brunt of an absence of their fundamental prerogative of having access to information, the government should gear up for coping with this problem. Transparency and accountability are the most important principles of democracy and the media outlets are the ones who relay the facts and put the establishment’s cards on the table. The interesting fact is that the Afghan government is blamed for the bulk of violent treatments of journalists just at a time the country is attempting to join the ‘Global Media Freedom Coalition’. Given the huge number of cases of violence against journalists, those government authorities who have denied journalists their rights to accessing information should be brought to justice. Otherwise, not being responsive on the part of government officials and the journalists being bedeviled by the unimplemented freedom of the press would gradually enfeeble the only nascent democracy in Afghanistan we have been helping to stand on feet.

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