Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Afghan Independent
Journalists’ Association (AIJA), in expressing concerns about efforts by Afghanistan’s
Government to censor television live coverage of militant attacks.
The proposed ban was discussed at a meeting at Afghanistan’s
National Security Directorate between authorities and some key media outlets on
March 1. Official notice of the new restrictions was sent out by the Kabul police chief on
“These new broad restrictions can only be termed government censorship,”
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
“Blocking reporting on matters of vital importance jeopardises
independent and impartial reporting on matters of vital national significance,
and denies ordinary people their right to be informed about matters that affect
their personal safety and security.”
The restrictions, which the AIJA says contravene Afghanistan’s Constitution and media laws, follow
an attack by Taliban insurgents in Kabul,
in which at least 16 people were killed. Most of the victims were from India.
Officials say live coverage presents a security risk because
it shows how security forces are responding to an attack, and therefore assists
militants in their organisation of an operation. Officials have also said they
are trying to protect journalists from gunfire and bombs, according to the AIJA.
AIJA reports that officials from the office of the presidential
spokesman have said they would discuss how the ban is to be enforced by ministerial
The Interior Ministry reportedly plans to hold a news
conference within the week to discuss the restrictions with journalists, their
organisations and unions, and media owners.
The IFJ joins the AIJA in calling on Afghanistan’s
Government and authorities to reverse the restrictions immediately, in the
public interest, and to respect the right to information.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries