A journey that is seen by people every day
For a week now, all government media outlets have been covering President Ghani’s visit to the United States. Twice so far, a press conference has been held only at the Government Information and Media Center in connection with the achievements of this trip. Dawa khan Minapaal and Wahid Omar each spoke about Ghani’s trip to the United States on the 27th and 29th of june, respectively. Ghani, Abdullah and Saleh did not miss any opportunity to promote this trip.
President Ghani held a press conference in Washington after Abdullah and him met with Joe Biden and briefed the international media on the achievements of his visit. This press conference was accompanied by all government agencies and media outlets. From the National Television to the Office of the President, the Government Information and Media Center, the Office of the National Security Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and all media outlets and social networks affiliated with these institutions were involved in the press conference.
After returning from the Afghan delegation’s two-day visit to Washington, Saleh also posted the details of the trip through his Facebook account. Abdullah also held a press conference at the Sepidar Palace on the 28th of June and spoke about the achievements of the Afghan delegation’s visit to the United States. In addition, Abdullah, Moheb and Atmar each spoke to the media in Washington about the trip. Ghani is said to have decided to appear at a news conference about the achievements of the trip and also to meet with politicians at ARG. He has so far reported the results of his visit to the governors at a cabinet meeting via video conference.
The government’s game with information related to this trip has been engaging the media and public opinion for a week. However, not all the achievements of this trip go beyond three lines: The United States is withdrawing its forces according to the previously announced timetable, the country is committed to continuing political, financial, military and humanitarian cooperation with Afghanistan, and the United States is to provide $3.3 billion in financial assistance to Afghanistan for the security sector. Government agents and media outlets have reflected this information so often that there is no question left about it.
It is understandable that the government seeks to use this trip for propaganda. Over the course of a week, the achievements of this trip has been blown out of proportion. If it is to be magnified even further, this journey may diminish in its essence and backfire. Meanwhile, the visit of the Afghan delegation to the United States had many ramifications. No one has said anything about this and nothing is to be said.
Government agencies and media outlets should not try to bring the burnt out information back into the minds of the people. People are thirsty for new information. The war had entered the gates of Ghazni city while government agencies and media outlets were busy repeating the old information. Several districts in the province fell overnight. People wants to know what are the government’s plan for the Taliban’s recent advances in the districts. The agencies in charge of information, however, are silent.
Eighty thousand families have been displaced by the war in Baghlan alone. The total number of war refugees in the past two months across the country is not clear. Authorities do not have accurate information on the number of displaced people. The is not clear relief plan for them. There is no clear emergency relief plan for the displaced families. All the agencies and media outlets of the government are still reporting on the achievements of the trip taken place days ago and are still keeping it in the limelight and giving it more coverage than needed.
If government agencies are committed to providing information, they must respond to reporters’ letters requesting information in a timely manner. Journalists have been repeatedly refused access to investigate large-scale corruption cases due to the authorities’ refusal to cooperate with the media. The task of government agencies and media outlets is not just propaganda and arrogance. They need to inform people in a timely manner about all events – good or bad – or events that are taking place.
The government, in addition to having the right to show its achievements to the people, has a duty to respond to the questions and concerns of the people in a timely manner. In the current situation where Corona and war are both claiming victims from the people, people need to have quick access to any information in regards to any new or possible plans and events. This information helps them determine their relationship to ongoing events or ongoing programs without incurring the least risk to them. It is wrong to warn people after the flood to be ready so that they do not get wet. Hence, it is expected that government agencies and media outlets, instead of running burnt out information to the public, to report on scenarios and events that are strongly related to the daily lives and future of the people.