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Media’s quantity growth; but quality still low in Afghanistan

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Media’s quantity growth; but quality still low in Afghanistan

“Up to 3,000 media outlets registered with MoIC,” Sancharaki

 Print media experienced up to 1.5 century in Afghanistan, where the first Farsi-language newspaper Shams-ul-Nahar was published in the capital Kabul.
In the course of history, press has faced ups-and-downs; sometime in a sheer strangulation and sometime reaching the apex of freedom, but what is important is that press has played vital role in the direction of society, although, the statesmen and authorities have since long had various behaviors before media.
The Kabul Times has launched an interview with Fazel Sancharaki, the deputy minister of information and culture for publication affairs on the advent of the World Press Day as follow:
Afghanistan media has faced various ups-and-downs in the course of history, after it was founded in the era of Amir Shir Ali Khan and then after the era of Yaqoub Khan and during different systems including the era of King Amanullah Khan and then Amir Habibullah Kalalakani, it faced heavy challenges, particularly a sheer suffocation during the era of Nader Khan, said Fazel  Sancharaki.
During the kingdom of Zaher Khan; the decade of democracy, the situation changed and the press could get growth alongside the government controlled media, the deputy minister added.
After the deadly communist coup against Daud Khan, media, also faced a new challenges and censorship, while after the Bonn Conference, as a result of which the processes of transitional and electoral systems came along, the media could find a new position, he said adding the media in Afghanistan are unique comparing to those of region. “Media is now one of the most important achievements of the government of Afghanistan.”
“The total number of media in Afghanistan reaches to up to 3,000; a fast growth, however low in quality, because some of them are affected by political, ethnic and linguistic groups,” said the deputy minister.
According to him, the ministry of information and culture has removed taxes on the media and anyone including Afghanistan based foreign individuals can establish their own favorite media. “this is not important for us who and when could establish a media in the country, as we are acting based on the ministry’s set rules allowing anyone resort to the establishment of a media in the country.”
On how could the people get information through media from the government authorities and officials, while they are refusing to share information with the media workers and reporters, he said first a law on access to information has been approved, under which all governmental and non-governmental organization have to share information with the citizens through media (except some legally prohibited issues).
An independent media commission, with special budget has also been established to work for media as well as the ministry of information and culture was also committed to provide up to 60 units to help media access to information.
He said the government has forever been committed to support media against any threats from those who don’t want their negative works revealed before the people. According to him, by the establishment of the joint government and media commission, under the chairmanship of the second vice-president up to one thousand violence cases against media, have been assessed in the past more than one year. The files remained unassessed since the last more than 16 years, while they are now classified and the number to be under assessment, has now reached to 300.
About the journalists death cases reaching to 70 between 2001 and 2014, while 2017 has been described to be the deadliest year for journalists, witnessing up to 10 journalists dead and who have killed these journalists, he said these journalists were killed during terrorists incidents in which thousands of other citizens lost their lives.
“The government has tried its best to provide a good and safe security cover, but insecurity is as wide as couldn’t be prevented by this, even sometimes, the government itself can control such incidents.
According to him, the families of those journalists losing their lives would be aided by the journalists support committee as well as by the office of the presidential affairs administration, through a written letter of the ministry.   He advised the journalists not to exceed the red belt, extended by the security forces during any terrorist attacks and not to endanger their lives for collection reports.
The World Press Day is marked in the country, just two days ago a two consecutive terrorist incidents took lives of nine journalists and wounded more than 45 others.