Government’s Solution for War Propaganda; “Both Sides Must Respect Freedom of Speech and Press”
The government has taken new steps after criticisms of the government’s weakness and inaction in the face of the enemy’s propaganda war. According to a number of media outlets and journalists, these measures are the government’s solution to the Taliban’s propaganda war.
The establishment of the Office of the Public Spokesman of the Security Institutions, the presentation of the plan to establish a National Chamber of Media Surveillance, the voting of the “Draft Procedure for the Establishment of the Media” and the plan to restructure the executive commission to investigate media violations are among the government’s new steps.
Mujib Khalwatgar, head of Afghanistan’s Free Media Support Office (NI), says the government wants to respond to the Taliban propaganda war by putting pressure on the free media; While he should know that the solution to the problem in the government’s propaganda apparatus does not go through the media and he should look for other ways. Mr. Khalvatgar added that even if the government does not pursue a very specific goal with these plans, there are restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
Mujib Khalwatgar stressed: “Restricting information and media is not going anywhere. The government must support the free flow of information; “This can benefit the system and the people in the long run.” Meanwhile, the Freedom of Expression House says that the Afghan media has been operating for two decades in accordance with the law and the principle of balance and impartiality, and that the two warring parties in the country must respect their rights and freedoms.
The agency added that the Afghan media operate in the light of the mass media law and the measured global standards and in compliance with the principle of balance and impartiality in the country. Therefore, the government and the Taliban must respect the principle of freedom of expression and impartial activity of these media.
Meanwhile, Marzieh Akbari, editor-in-chief of the local weekly Shahrbanu in Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province, says that freedom of expression, media and the information process are becoming more limited every day. Ms. Akbari added that the Taliban’s warnings to the media, on the one hand, and the government’s warnings to the media, on the other, violated national and international law and intimidated the media community, especially the local media.
The Office of the Spokesman for Security Institutions has slowed down the information process
A number of journalists say that the establishment of the Office of the Public Spokesman of the Security Institutions has slowed down the information process and made it difficult. Merajuddin Mojrei, a reporter for Ayneh TV, told 8 Sobh that he was facing a serious problem in obtaining information with the establishment of the office of the public spokesman for the security agencies. Mr. Mojrei added that the Office of the Spokesman for Security Institutions, instead of facilitating the information process, has made things difficult for journalists.
The host added: “In the past, if I wanted to get information from a security source, he would give me information with a call and message on WhatsApp; “But with the establishment of this office, I have recently called the security agencies several times from the provinces and the center to ask for information, saying that we are not allowed to provide information.” According to the reporter, the establishment of this office has imposed a chain of restrictions on access to information and so far has had the opposite effect.
About a month ago, Ajmal Shinwari was appointed by President Ghani on the recommendation of the National Security Council as the general spokesman for the security services. The government said the purpose of the office was to create a single source of information on the security situation in the country.
Meanwhile, Dawakhan Minhapal, head of the government’s information and media center, told 8Sobh that the government’s recent actions and plans did not mention censorship or restrictions on freedom of expression and the media; Rather, these plans have been taken to regulate the media and information.
Regarding the establishment of the Office of the Spokesperson for Security Institutions, Mr. Minhpal stressed that this institution was established in order to quickly access information and facilitate this process in accordance with the law.
On the other hand, Abdul Manan Shivai Shargh, Deputy Minister of Publications of the Ministry of Information and Culture, says that the issue of reforming media thinking is more focused on institutionalizing media laws in government offices and the media, and the purpose of these plans is not censorship at all.
“In many areas, the media do not pay attention to the law,” Mr Shargh added. He noted that the Ministry of Information and Culture should have developed its own technology to monitor the quality of publications, as well as to prevent the broadcast of violent programs by the media.
On the other hand, Shargh says about the office of the General Spokesman of the security agencies that the purpose is not to censor or hide information; Rather, the goal is coherence, coordination, and the provision of accurate and consistent information to the media.
On the other hand, Ainuddin Bahadori, the head of the Commission for Access to Information, says that any plan to restrict the activities of the media is definitely not acceptable and is contrary to Article 34 of the Constitution.
Freedom of expression and freedom of the media is considered one of the most important achievements of the government, which has reached this point with many sacrifices.