KABUL (SW) – Leading private media organizations on Tuesday lashed out at the government over ‘severe limitations’ in access to government information.
The declaration issued by some 30 media outlets, including Radio Salam Watandar, called on the international community and the government to protect the free flow of information. It said Afghanistan has gone backwards when it comes to access to information in recent years.
“We are deeply concerned about the deterioration of access to government-related information … Despite the fact that Afghanistan is one of the deadliest places to be a journalist, Afghan media is still the freest in the region. But the carelessness of the government has endangered this hard-won achievement”, read the statement.
It added the government has a double-standard when it comes to implementing the access to information law, and supporting free media. “There cannot be a simpler or clearer example than a censored photo coming out of an event where the government had joined the coalition to support the free press”, it said.
The statement further said all government institutions have shortcomings when it comes to providing access to information, but the worst ones are: the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s office, the National Directorate of Security, the Office of the President and its procurement unit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Public Health.
It called on the Afghan government, the international community and media support organizations to act in the strongest possible ways to safeguard the free flow of information, press freedom and the young democracy.