Summary: On the week of World Press Freedom Day 2018, the Embassy hosted an evening reception to honour the role of a free press in creating sustainable democracies and prosperous societies in Afghanistan and around the world.
To reaffirm the vital role that the free press plays in Afghanistan, and to celebrate this month’s UN World Press Freedom Day, the Embassy hosted an evening reception for Afghan and international journalists. Ambassador Jawad praised the vital role of the Afghan media
in shining a light on the many challenges, cruelties and also hopeful stories that exists in Afghanistan, awarding the Queen Soraya Award for Excellence to five prominent Afghan and international personalities in the media industry. Among the attendees were journalists, media professionals, filmmakers, writers and government officials.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Jawad emphasised the direct impact that a free press has on social development, on poverty reduction, on good governance, on the reduction of violence, and on promoting peace in Afghanistan. He also reflected on the duty of the government to protect constitutional rights of Afghan citizens to debate issues and challenge decisions. “We are fully committed to the principals of justice and rule of law, and have made access to information our thematic human rights priorities through the recently revised Access to Information Law, Ambassador Jawad said. “It is our responsibility, as the Government of Afghanistan, to further improve the working environment for our heroic media workers to do what they are doing so very well.”
Ambassador Jawad also acknowledged the serious challenges faced by the Afghan media. “Last year was the bloodiest year for journalists and media workers in Afghanistan’s history, whereby violence against journalists and the number of journalists killed increased dramatically. In the past 15 months, we have lost 31 brave journalists”, Ambassador Jawad said. He also thanked the media for continuing to cover Afghan news, and thus maintaining a well-informed public domain in Afghanistan and around the world: “We, the Government of Afghanistan, value the sacrifices of the brave Afghan and international journalists keeping the focus on our country. They are our heroes, just like the members of our security forces, giving their lives to make Afghanistan, the region and the world a safer place for our children”.
The Queen Soraya Award for Excellence and the Embassy Certificate of Appreciation were then awarded to deserving journalists and writers working on issues related to Afghanistan on a national and an international basis, whereby Ambassador Jawad stressed “There are, of course, many more that need to be named and credited, but our resources are limited and some of the Afghan media outlets in Kabul are restricted by their bylaws to receive recognition from governmental institutions. We value the services of every one of you”.
- International Reporting* – Lyse Ducet (BBC World Service – World News)
- Lifetime Achievement* – Abdullah Shadan (BBC World Service – Afghanistan)
- Male – TV Presenter* – Sayed Jamal Mosavi (BBC Persian )
- Female – TV Presenter* – Sana Safi (BBC World Service – Afghanistan)
- Poet of the Year* – Sayed Reza Mohammadi (Head of Afghan Writers Union)
Embassy Certificate of Appreciation:
- Documentary* – Bozorgmehr Sharafedin (Reuters News Agency)