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RTA deletes Zakhilwal’s interview, censorship looming

AT News

KABUL: Former Finance Minster and ambassador to Pakistan, Dr. Omar Zakhilwal accused RTA, a government-owned tv channel of censorship, saying his exclusive interview on the issues related to the peace process and the Loya Jirga, was deleted rapidly after being broadcasted.

He had recently approached by a prominent anchor of Afghanistan state owned TV, RTA, for an exclusive interview. “I finally was able to do that yesterday (Thursday). The interview was mostly on the status of the peace process, opportunities, challenges, how the whole process has been managed and the upcoming Consultative Loya Jirga (LJ) on peace,” he said.

In a series of tweet he said, “In my interview I questioned the needs and motives for convening the LJ and offered my detailed explanation in this regard. However, I said that despite the lack of a strong case for the LJ, if it is indeed convened to resolve the issue of the remaining Taliban prisoners so that it can lead quickly and directly to intra-Afghan negotiations and that if the LJ is not about any other issues particularly adding red or yellow lines or conditions of personal interests that could complicate talks then it should still be supported just to get done with.”

He furthered, “Last night after my interview was being aired and also posted on RTA digital platforms the Head of the RTA Ismail Miakhail personally intervenes to delete my interview from all of the RTA’s platforms because my views did not conform with that of the Government.”

He further went on: “Mr. Miakhel, or whoever ever higher up that instructed him to do this should know that state institutions in general and media in particular are not anyone’s personal properties.”

“Most importantly the above condemnable act is in stark violation and contradiction of freedom of speech, existing media laws and regulations, respect for opposing views within a democracy and allowing the public to hear alternative views and positions on issues of high national interest such as peace,” he added.

It is also in stark violation of RTA’s own standards and rules, he added. “I ask Mr. Miakhel or whoever else above in this to either offer an explanation for this violation or immediately post my interview on all of RTA’s digital platforms without delay.”

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