In the last ten years, the Afghan media has progressed tremendously and become more vibrant; President Hamid Karzai has urged the future government to preserve the gains
Hailing the vibrant media of Afghanistan as a great achievement of his government over the past decade, President Hamid Karzai said future government should preserve the gains.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a newly-built Bayat Media Centre in Kabul, President Karzai said the next government should explore different ways to preserve the right to freedom of speech and expression.
“Freedom of print and electronic media, freedom of writers and freedom of speech in Afghanistan has progressed and is moving forward,” said the outgoing President. “The next government has to set the ball rolling.”
The evolving media sector is widely considered as one of the top accomplishments of President Karzai’s administration.
Afghanistan has come a long way since Taliban years when there was just one radio station, one newspaper and no TV station
Although hundreds of print and visual media outlets are operational here, there are concerns that some of them work against the national interest in connivance with vested interests.
Since several years, said Mr. Karzai, he has been observing the Afghan media and he knows which media works against the national interest of Afghanistan.
The President called on the Afghan media to use the right to freedom of expression in reinforcing the country’s image and further promoting the national unity.
“We should use the right to freedom of speech to keep people informed to defend our country and protect the interests of our nation,” he said. “We should use the power and authority of media to bring reforms in the country.”
Last month, addressing the National Conference on Salang Pass, President Karzai criticized some media outlets for working against the national interest and creating fissures among the people of country.
Afghanistan has come a long way since Taliban years when there was just one radio station, one newspaper and no TV station. In the last ten years during President Karzai’s rule, the country has taken giant strides in the media sector. Currently, there are hundreds of newspapers, more than 150 radio stations and more than 50 television channels.
Analysts believe Afghanistan’s achievements in media sector in the last ten years are unprecedented. No country in the entire region has the kind of vibrant media and freedom of speech and expression like Afghanistan, they said.
The Afghan media outlets can freely criticize the government activities, unveil corruption cases and file reports on all the matters of public interest.
Abdul Hamid Mubarez, Head of Afghanistan's National Journalist Union (ANJU), said the Afghan media has no parallel when it comes to freedom of speech and media independence in the region.
He said, of all the achievements since 2001, Afghans take most pride in the progress they have made in media sector, saying the country's media is now more free and independent than in most other countries.
Meanwhile, Director of the newly-inaugurated Bayat Media Center, Ehsanullah Bayat, said the main objective behind establishing this center is to promote and safeguard civil and democratic values and empower citizens.
The center, he added, would represent all ethnicities without any discrimination. “The media is duty-bound to play a central role in rebuilding and developing this war-devastated country,” said Mr. Bayat.
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