The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its
affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA), concluded a
workshop in Kabul
on March 29 in which journalists were trained to train others on reporting on
elections and political issues.
Fifteen experienced journalists from various provinces,
including Paktika, Zabul, Faryab and Takhar, participated in the four-day
workshop. The first two days included sessions on training techniques followed
by two days on the practices and processes of democratic elections and the role
of the media in election coverage.
The training, which is part of an IFJ-AIJA Media for
Democracy project supported by the European Union, also contained sessions on
reporting and interpreting elections in Afghanistan's historical context; legal
issues; electoral processes; transparency and public service journalism; and analysis
of political campaigning styles and electoral systems elsewhere the world.
In the context of Afghanistan’s political transition,
journalists have faced increasing challenges in accessing information and
reporting freely and transparently without fear of retaliation from militant
groups and other parties.
Over the past 12 months, three journalists have been killed
and numerous others have been harassed and threatened.
In the past week, three journalists were arrested by
Afghanistan’s National Security Directorate for the alleged crime of
criticising a neighbouring state.
“Journalists in Afghanistan have an important role to play
in the country’s transition to democracy, particularly in providing the public
with fair, balanced and transparent reporting during the lead-up to and
coverage of national elections,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ deplores the Afghanistan Government’s failure to
bring to book those responsible for the recent murders of journalists and its
effort to clamp down on free speech.
“We hope that with the kind of training that was recently
journalists will be able to strengthen their professional competence and unity,
and also mobilise better in defence of their collective rights”.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over
600,000 journalists in 122 countries