Thursday, 19 September 2019 06:03 GMT

Afghanistan- Editorial: Fears to press freedom

(MENAFN - Afghanistan Times) Overwhelming majority in Afghanistan have been made fed up
by prolonged wars and hostilities, therefore, they are in favour of
reconciliation and patch up with the opposition Taliban. But at the same time,
media personnel and politically aware people who believe in human rights are
fearing threats to press freedom which remain remarkable since November 2001.
At the moment when the United States through its special envoy Dr. Zalmay
Khalilzad are engaged in dialogues with Doha Qatar based Taliban leaders,
future of media-especially freedom is the main topic whenever mediamen, human
and political rightists are meeting each other's. Unfortunately, whenever
someone talking about peace and reconciliation with Taliban, they memorizing the
days when there was a complete 'blackout' for media in all over Afghanistan
during September 1996-November 2001. Almost newspaper halted its publications
whereas the state run television and radio's confined to religious speeches and
Naat's. But after November 2001, not only war affected countrymen but the world
has witnessed unprecedented freedom for media. During this period, on one hand
scores of private televisions, radio's, newspapers and magazines appeared on
media lists throughout Afghanistan but the media remain focus of attentions for
youths from both the genders. During this period the media personnel have
experienced unprecedented freedom. Even they charged some of the former Jihadi
leaders for inflicting destructions and losses to precious human lives just for
power and perks, didn't by former USSR. Some of these leaders were named as
'butcher's' by media personnel and some of them accused as 'foreign puppets',
'looters by plundering antiques and selling out precious minerals at hands of
their foreign masters. But now the situation is turning hostile for media. As
the Taliban and other extremist groups have been charged for killing over 120
media personnel. These martyred media personnel have rendered sacrifices for
getting the rights of expression, which is now at stake. A foreign wire
services reported the dramatic moment during a recent televised news debate
highlights how far media freedom has come in Afghanistan, where—for now
—traumatised civilians can stand and at least try to hold powerful men to
account, live on camera. Years ago, these kind of questions could get you
killed, but now people can challenge the most dangerous people in mainstream
and social media. But today, even as hundreds of media outlets proliferate
across Afghanistan, consumers and journalists alike worry a potential peace
deal between the Taliban and the US could sound the death knell fior a golden
age of press freedom. While in power, the Taliban insurgents raged against
traditional forms of mass communication and entertainment, banning television,
movies and allowing only Islamist programmingor propaganda to be
broadcast on the only radio stations, Voice of Sharia. Anyone watched TV faced
punishment and risked having their television set smashed and then displayed
from lamppost. Almost all electronic products were outlawed as Un-Islamic.
During Taliban regime, almost media personnel migrated abroad and around nine
were killed. Now the US and leaderships in Kabul must keep in mind the worries
about freedom of expression and freedom of press in any sort of peace truce or
agreement with Taliban.


Afghanistan- Editorial: Fears to press freedom


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