Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Afghan Government denied the right to report the news

By Hanan Habibzai

Reporters without Borders expresses its concern over the alleged obstruct of journalists trying to cover suicide attacks. The organisation accuses Afghan government that its security forces have beaten several journalists and mistreated by guards when they protested against a denial that prevents media workers to cover a suicide attack on Afghan defence ministry, Tuesday.

The France based journalist defend organisation condemns all the techniques that the Afghan security forces use to prevent journalists entering the scene of an armed attack on the defence ministry in Kabul. ‘‘Only crews from a few foreign and Afghan TV stations were allowed to visit the scene of the shooting’’, a statement said.

Just few metres from the presidential palace, an unknown armed man wearing Afghan security men’s uniform entered Afghan defence ministry main building which houses the office of minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak. The attacker uses a gun killed two Afghan soldiers and injured number of others. The intruder then shot dead before he could trigger the explosives.

Tens of journalists went to the defence ministry to cover the consequences of the attack but they were not allowed to properly report the incident. “We understand that, in such serious circumstances, protecting civilians must be the priority for the security forces,” Reporters Without Borders said.

This is not the first time that the Afghan government is trying to censor news coverage of the Taliban activity. In March 2010, the interior ministry made an attempt to ban all live media coverage of Taliban attacks on the grounds that the information provided by journalists could be used by the militants to organize their activities.

“The news coverage is also a priority and must be respected. Without media coverage, there is a real risk that the facts will be dressed up and the public will be misinformed in a way that suits the Afghan government and its allies. Without proper reporting, it will not be possible to rally the public’s support for the fight against terrorism”, the organisation articulated the concern.

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