KABUL (SW) - The Ministry of Interior has issued a directive imposing restrictions on personnel in regard to publications of achievements and interviews in the media and expressing personal views in the social media.
The order was issued in accordance with Article 30 (1) of the Police Code, with the purpose of preserving the confidentiality of duty and preventing it from being shared with the media and citizens. The first paragraph of the Police Law states: "The police are obliged to preserve information acquired about the performance or about the execution of duty that might harm rights and dignity of person or the public."
Accordingly, none of the ministry's staff, which includes police chiefs, commanders and officers of the police, could no longer comment about the official position on the social media. It also goes on to say that no interior ministry officer can then share official secrets, documents of appointment, conversion, promotions and other intrinsic images, uniformed police images, vehicles, weapons, equipment, meetings and congratulatory pages on their social media.
The second paragraph states that the sole source of information and awareness of the functions of the Ministry of the Interior is the Directorate General for Strategic Communications and its related departments. Following this, official information will be posted on the official pages of the Ministry following the official announcement by the Directorate-General for Strategic Communications.
In another section, it stated that none of the staff of the ministry could speak to the media in connection with inspections, investigations of criminal cases, achievements and other matters related to anti-crime operations and criticism of the current and retired officials.
At the end, it is stated that the Directorate General of Homeland Security and the Directorate of Strategic Communications of the Ministry of Interior are required to follow up and execute the "Directive" and all staff are required to comply with this and will be prosecuted if violated.
Last week, media officials named some twelve government agencies for hindering access to information and the government's biased and deceptive approach towards access to information.
As per that, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General's Office, the National Procurement Bureau, the Ministry of Defense, the Interior Ministry, the President's Office, the Ministry of Health, the Directorate-General for National Security, the Central Bank, and the Ministry of Finance are among the agencies that have been poor at providing information to the media.
Mujib Khalwatgar, chief executive of NAI – supporting free media organization, told Salam Watandar that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has issued this "directive” in clear violation of access to information and Article 34 of the Afghan Constitution, which states: "Freedom of expression is inviolable".
But, Marwa Amini, a spokeswoman for the interior ministry, told Salam Watandar that media owners had misinterpreted the interior ministry's statement regarding restrictions on the agency's information to the media.