Journalists boycott coverage of Ghani’s Herat trip

HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Journalists on Thursday announced boycotting President Ashraf Ghani’s trip to western Herat province and termed sidelining media an insult to the freedom of expression. Reporters and representatives of media outlets said President Ghani traveled to Herat today but no reporter was invited to cover the trip.

They said the provincial government arranged a meeting of media persons with assistant spokesperson of the President Dawa Khan Minapal but the reporters termed participating in Minapal’s meeting as an insult and boycotted coverage of the president’s trip. Abdullah Saljoqi, a reporter, said influential persons had not been invited to meet the president and only people from his own team had been invited.

Media support organisations also said the president always claimed supporting free media, a pledged yet to be implemented. HumayounNazari, head of the Journalist Safety Committee (JSC), said media and reporters should remain on top of the president’s agenda during his trips because it was the media that unearthed challenges and problems faced by people. According to Menapal, people had been invited by the local administration, adding that journalists would be invited tonight to meet the president.