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Parliament opposes proposed amendment to media law

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KABUL: Members of the Parliament on their Sunday session opposed the new amendment of mass media law proposed by the Afghan government to restrict the freedom of speech.

The mass media law, which was formed in 2006, is containing of 54 principles. The new scheme of mass media law by the government is compromised of 13 principles.

However, the amendment to restrict the mass media law has been facing intensive criticism by the Afghan media outlets and media rights organizations. The critics accused the government of lemmatizing the publication that could reveal the truth and corruption in the government’s administrations, saying that the government would appoint unworthy and indecent authority in its monitoring organizations.

Among other restriction, the media rights organizations said that the new scheme would remove some rights and privileges of the journalists and Medias, including the independency of the national televisions. 

Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Mohammad Mirza Katawazai said the legislative commission of the lower house (Wolesi Jirga) is investigating the proposed draft of the government regarding media law. Restricting the media and freedom of speech amid a historic peace process is a concerning and unacceptable issue, he added.

Based on the initial findings, Katawazai said the scheme is aimed to imposing restriction on the freedom of speech. “The only achievement of the past two decades is our media and we will not accept any limitations on the activities of the media.”

Meanwhile, Abdul Mannan Shewa Sharq, the deputy minister of information and culture said that negotiations are underway with the media outlets regarding the reviewing of the mass media law.

 “We are on the verge of consultations,” he added. “Some amendments have been proposed to the (mass media) law.”

He said that the government would support the media’s stand even if the proposed draft was denied by the Medias.

With imposing the new scheme of the mass media law, some media activists are concerned about the affection of the media achievements gained during two past decades throughout unprecedented sacrifices amid an intensive insecurity.  

If the media is affected, Afghanistan would lose one of the crucial achievements of the last 20 years, said Aziz Rafiee, head of the civil society association of Afghanistan. “I hope that we can preserve these achievements.”

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