Following some national and provincial media outlets’ protests over what they say as restrictions on access to government-related information, government spokesmen say there is no systematic efforts to limit freedom of expression and the media outlets that claimed so, should make it clear when and where they have been in trouble at government institutions.

Following some national and provincial media outlets’ protests over what they say as restrictions on access to government-related information, government spokesmen say there is no systematic efforts to limit freedom of expression and the media outlets that claimed so, should make it clear when and where they have been in trouble at government institutions.
Director general of the office of public and strategic affairs Waheed Omer said late Tuesday during a press conference in Kabul that the freedom of expression is the redline and the government believes that a sustainable peace cannot be achieved without freedom of expression.
He described the country’s media space, the most open one in the region, claiming that this would not be possible without the government’s facilitation.

Mr Omer considered the establishment of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) and the Fund for the Protection of Journalists in the country, an achievement of the government in support of freedom of expression and access to information.
He urged the media outlets that signed the protest letter to clarify when, and in what cases, government agencies denied access to information in order to obviate the problems.

Meanwhile, the Presidential spokesman Seddiq Sediqqi said the government has always tried to make the information available to the media, but some information is classified and the media must understand it.
“There will be no set-back in our freedom, our gains in freedom and women’s rights are irreversible. They have been our redlines in our talks with the Taliban,” he said.

On the other hand, the Executive Directorate in response to the protest letter said that the era of censorship and distortion of facts has past, and that information must be available to the media.

On Tuesday, at least 30 media outlets issued a letter of protest, expressing concerns over the deteriorating situation and the right of access to information in the past few months, saying that the process of access to government-related information has gone backwards.
These media outlets described the Supreme Court, AGO, NDS, the national procurement authority, the office of the president, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Ministry of Public Health as the most closed state-institutions in providing information.


News Id: E15339