Frozen funds should go to media: Journalists

KABUL (Tolo News): The Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) in a press conference expressed its concerns over the poor economic situation of the country’s media. The members of this association asked the World Bank to pay out money earmarked for media the Dastarkhan-e-Milli program.
“During the past two weeks, first we lost the Tajala Radio in Maidan Wardak. Its door has closed, it lost its journalists and its journalists started drudge work which is not even provided in Afghanistan, and they have to go to Iran and Pakistan,” said Hujatullah Mujaddidi, head of the AIJA. “Our suggestion to the international community is that the $1 billion they recently promised to help Afghanistan– $1 billion should be contributed to Afghan journalists and the Afghan media, so that we can work, considering the use of the frozen money that belongs to the media itself, so at least we could restore our activities from a critical state to a normal state,” said Ahmad Reshad Payenda, a journalist.
AIJA urges the international community not to remain silent about the media challenges in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, some local media outlets in the provinces say that restrictions on information, and the economic challenges, have left more than 90 percent of local media outlets inactive.
“The media are registered in three ministries, such as the Ministry of Trade, Telecommunications, Information and Culture. We are being told by all three ministries that you have to renew your licenses and pay your dues. How can we pay them?” said Shafiullah Azizi, head of media in the northern part of the country. In the meantime, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says that the Islamic Emirate is trying to control the country’s media by “torturing and beating Afghan journalists.”