Danish stresses on preserving freedom of press in peace talks

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Senior officials from President Ghani’s administration, including Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish, marked the Journalists National Day at a ceremony in Kabul on Monday.

Addressing the event, Danish said freedom of the press, which is one of the biggest achievements of Afghanistan in the past 18 years, should be preserved in the peace talks with the Taliban – who were once against freedom of the press during their rule in Kabul between 1996 to 2001.

He said the Afghan people and government are supporting peace in order to preserve the past 18 years’ achievement, especially the freedom of the press. “All stakeholders in Afghan peace talks should assure the people that freedom of the press will be maintained,” Danish said.

He said holding transparent elections will not be possible in absence of freedom of speech, adding that a society without freedom of the press will be exposed to war and violence. Danish said journalists should act impartially while reporting.

“A journalist should reflect the facts impartially,” Danish said. “Under current circumstances of Afghanistan are responsible to consider national interests (in their reports),” Danish added.

Government named 27th of Hoot, March 18, as Journalists Notational Day.

This comes as a group of Afghan journalists at a gathering in eastern Nangarhar province on Saturday, March 18, expressed their concerns over their safety and said threats against media workers have increased recently.

In a recent incident, an employee of a local TV network in Khost province – Zhman – was killed in an attack by armed men in Khost city on Friday. He was the fourth journalist who lost their lives in armed attacks so far this year.

The journalists said that besides threats by armed men, they are faced with threats by individuals within government. The Khost journalist, Sultan Mahmoud Khairkhwah, 60, was the fourth journalist killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

Last week, Nisar Ahmadi, a local TV journalist in Helmand, was wounded in an IED blast in Lashkargah city. (TOLOnews)