Embassy News

Remarks of HE Ambassador Jawad on World Press Freedom Day, April 30th, 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

  • I would like to welcome all my journalist friends to our event.
  • To honour the victims of today’s terrorist attack, especially the 9 journalists that lost their lives in Kabul and 1 in Khost, I ask you to observe a minute of silence.
  • There is no expression vile enough to condemn this evil and despicable terrorist attack today, murdering civilians and most accomplished and courageous journalists, and sons and daughters of Afghanistan.
  • We are resilient people, but it is hard to weather this storm, honestly. I know some of these fallen heroes personally.
  • We are here to celebrate their lives and their accomplishments. They will be remembered forever by our people for giving their lives, so the Afghan people would know the truth.
  • Today’s terrorist attack was a crime against humanity, and the terrorists will never see forgiveness for their despicable crime. Such acts will further strengthen the resolve of our people to stand together to fight terror and the tyranny that they are trying to impose.
  • The theme of this year’s celebration of UN World Press Freedom Week is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”, highlighting the accountability of state institutions towards the public, as well as the importance of reporting on injustice and promoting rule of law.
  • We, the Government of Afghanistan, 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”.
  • Peace and justice and peace are the principal demands of our people.
  • It is our duty to work harder to protect our citizens and their constitutional rights to debate issues, challenge our decisions and help us make informed assessments.
  • We value and appreciate the vital work of the incredible brave and resilient journalists, bloggers and the media organisations in Afghanistan, showing the diversity and unity of our society. 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.

 

Dear friends,

  • A free press has a direct impact on social development, on poverty reduction, on good governance, on the reduction of violence, and on promoting peace and on facilitating prosperity.
  • Access to information allow marginalised people, especially women and children, to acquire the tools and the skills to participate more fully in the society. Therefore, the Afghan press contribute to prosperity and stability, and the efforts of both the government and, more importantly, those marginalised groups to lift themselves out of poverty.
  • A free press is not only to keep the government in check, but it also serves as an intermediary between citizens and the government by enhancing accountability, transparency and efficiency.
  • We have come a long way in Afghanistan, but still not out of woods.
  • On the one hand, I am very proud of the close to 3000 Afghan media channels – in various categories – currently registered with the Ministry of Interior. We are proud to have over:
  • 203 Television Broadcasting Stations (91 national and 112 local)
  • 366 Radio Stations (68 national and 297 local)
  • 72 Newspapers
  • 354 Magazines
  • 73 News Agencies
  • 24 Publication Houses
  • 139 Internet and Cable TV providers, to name just a few.
  • On the other hand, our media family is facing serious challenges and life-threatening treats:
  • Today’s attack is an example.
  • Last year was sadly the bloodiest year for journalists and media workers in Afghanistan’s history.
  • Violence against journalists and the number of journalists killed increased.
  • In the past 15 months, we lost 31 journalists.
  • There were 169 cases of registered violence and threats against journalists. Of these, there were 20 cases of killing of journalists and media workers.
  • Terrorist groups such as ISIS and the Taliban are responsible for almost all cases of the killing of journalists in the past 15 moths. ISIS is responsible for killing of 27 journalists and Taliban for 2.
  • Armed groups are also responsible for the bulk of physical violence against journalists (51%). Government and Parliament rank second as they are responsible for the (34%) of violence and intimidation against journalists. We are working hard with media outlets to change this.
  • We are in a war zone, and as the Taliban feel the military pressure in the countryside, they attack civilians in the major cities.
  • We are doing our best. We have, by the recommendation of our free media, established the Afghanistan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC), which is considered to be the most comprehensive journalist safety mechanism in our region.
  • In this Joint Committee, the Afghan government, represented by our Vice President and security ministries with the Afghan media, work together to investigate and remedy all types of abuse, both by armed groups as well as by the Afghan government and parliament.
  • The Joint Committee is also supporting journalist with emergency aid provision, advocacy, research studies and legal support.
  • The Joint Committee also maintain a comprehensive database of the media workers in Afghanistan, making it easy for the government to quickly identify and respond to crisis.
  • We, the Government of Afghanistan, value the sacrifices of the brave Afghan and international journalists keeping the focus on Afghanistan. They are our heroes, just like the members of our security forces, supported by the UK and NATO. they are given their lives to make Afghanistan, the region and the world a safer place for our children.
  • Despite war and relentless terrorist attacks, Afghanistan’s ranking in the free media is the best in our region and improving. There is, however, room for further improvement.

 

Dear Friends,

  • I would like to thank the international media for keeping focus on Afghanistan. Your coverage of Afghan news is critical to maintain a well-informed public domain in Afghanistan and around the world. The Embassy is your partner and we are at your service.
  • Tonight, we will recognise the vital contributions of some of our colleagues in the media industry. 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.
  • Finally, I would also like to thank tonight’s MC Gharghasht Gharghakht for doing such an excellent job.
  • Last, but not least, I want to thank my diplomats and staff, especially the Public Relations team, for working hard for this event. We will do another event soon.
  • Thank you!

 

 

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