Afghanistan: Journalists claim lack of access to information

World Tuesday 11/July/2023 07:28 AM
Afghanistan: Journalists claim lack of access to information

Kabul: Journalists in Afghanistan have complained over the lack of access to information, Afghanistan-based TOLO News reported, adding that the journalists have said the Taliban's spokespersons do not give them information on time.

Toba, a journalist, said, "When we want to contact the spokesperson, they first do not answer and if they answer they say that they are not aware about it. Thus, they don't provide information," according to TOLO News. Samiha, another journalist, said journalists in Afghanistan face "serious problems" when they don't have access to information to share it with people. The statement of journalists comes after the head of the Afghanistan National Journalists Union (ANJU) Masroor Lutfi spoke about the challenges faced by journalists seeking access to information.

"If there is no serious attention paid to this, providing information to the people will be face serious problems," he said, as per TOLO News. However, Taliban-led Ministry of Information and Culture said that they are committed to providing information to journalists.

Mahajar Farahi, deputy minister for Publication of the Taliban-led Ministry of Information and Culture, said all the institutions and spokespersons are committed to providing information on time and in case, there is any issue, the journalists can contact Taliban-led Ministry of Information and Culture, TOLO News reported.

Earlier, the Taliban-led Ministry of Information and Culture said the mass media law and issue of access to information have been sent to Taliban leadership for approval.

Earlier, in June, some women journalists in Afghanistan have said that they are occasionally banned from attending press conferences held by the Taliban, TOLO News reported.TOLO News is an Afghan news channel broadcasting from Kabul.

The journalists criticised what they consider gender discrimination against women journalists. Nilab Noori, a journalist, said: "Sadly, we were kicked out of the press conferences in which we participated. I ask the government to join hands and give women a share so that they can work alongside their brothers," according to TOLO News report.
Fatana Bayat, another journalist said, "There were some problems in this regard, when they wanted to make a report from some exhibitions, they were not being allowed."

Some media-supporting groups have expressed concern over the matter and claimed that restricting the employment of women journalists may result in a gap in the information supply.

Head of the Committee for the Safety of Afghan Journalists, Abdul Qadim Viyar, said: "It's not a good way for press freedom and access to information, and this in itself is a form of restriction, and there shouldn't be discrimination in the work of providing information."

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has claimed there are no barriers preventing women journalists from working in the media. He noted that the media has been sent to Taliban leader for approval.

As per TOLO News report, Zabihullah Mujahid said, "The media law, which has been sent to the leadership and is currently yet to be approved, does not contain such a thing. We do not have any restrictions in this regard, but of course, Islamic laws, Islamic values, the hijab for women, and also protecting the high interests of the country are mentioned in it, which we are all obliged to comply with.