World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Afghanistan: Remove New Restrictions on Media

Afghanistan: Remove New Restrictions on Media

(New York) – The Afghan government should immediately revoke a recently promulgated directive restricting the freedom of the press, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 12 and 19, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Security Directorate (NSD), distributed a list of restrictions to Afghan journalists demanding that they curtail their reporting on the country’s deteriorating security situation.

The NSD directive states that “[I]t is important that the media must ban or restrict broadcasting those materials which deteriorate the morale of the public, cause security problems and which are against the national interest.”

“The intelligence service's restrictions are a blatant intrusion on the freedom of Afghanistan’s fledgling media,” said Sam Zarifi, research director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division. “These directives are an insult to the hard work and personal sacrifice of Afghan journalists who try to get the truth out to the public.”

Afghan journalists told Human Rights Watch that the NSD directive was a form of intimidation and would have a chilling effect on reporting the news.

On June 12, representatives of Afghanistan’s major media outlets were summoned to a meeting at the NSD where they first received the list of press restrictions, signed by Amrullah Saleh, the head of the NSD. On June 19, the same list was delivered to journalists’ homes and offices. This version lacked a personal signature and was accompanied by a demand that it not be copied or distributed.

The two-page directive restricts, among other things, “Those reports that aim to represent that the fighting spirit in Afghanistan’s armed forces is weak,” and “Negative propaganda, interviews and reports which are provocative or slanderous and which are against the presence [in Afghanistan] of the international coalition forces and ISAF [International Security Assistance Force].” The document also told radio and television broadcasters that “News of terrorist activities must not come as the lead story of the news.”

“The Afghan media is reporting on serious security problems facing the government and the Afghan people,” Zarifi said. “The government should be coming up with real solutions to the problems, not trying to sweep problems under the rug.”

On June 19, President Hamid Karzai’s office issued a statement denying that the government has issued restrictions, instead characterizing the directive as a “request” reflecting “the need to help the nascent media sector in Afghanistan to approach the complex issue of terrorism and terrorist activities in a principled manner.”

Human Rights Watch called on President Karzai to clarify the situation by retracting the NSD directives and reiterating the right of Afghan journalists to report the news freely, as guaranteed under international law and the Afghan constitution.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news