Journalist community demands 19 amendments in existing Afghan Media Law
|Publisher||UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)|
|Publication Date||18 July 2012|
|Cite as||UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Journalist community demands 19 amendments in existing Afghan Media Law , 18 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5124ee262.html [accessed 28 June 2017]|
18 July 2012 - The representatives of Afghan media have submitted their consolidated recommendations to the Ministry of Information and Culture and demanded 19 amendments in the existing Afghan Media Law to ensure freedom of speech and independence of media in the country. Proposed amendments to the Afghanistan Mass Media Law
The comments, which were compiled in a document, were handed over to Deputy Minister Deen Mohammad Mobariz Rashidi at a press event on 15 July 2012, organized under the auspices of the Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, an Afghan media development and rights group.
The key recommendation is referred to restructuring the composition of the proposed High Media Council by increasing the number of journalist representatives from two to five, which should be elected from Kabul and four zones through an election process.
The current law does not have the provision of any secretariat for the High Media Council. The journalists have demanded establishment of a secretariat and abolishment of the Mass Media Commission (headed by the Minister of Information and Culture) and transfer of its powers to the High Media Council.
In addition, the journalists have demanded with the Government to separately define Internet as electronic media and to indicate clearly that the Government should not have the power to impose restrictions on social media.
These recommendations were prepared through a broad consultation process with representatives of Afghan media from all over the country during a national conference on 27 June 2012 with the aim to demonstrate journalist community's agreement and consensus on the issue of Afghan media law. UNAMA and the Embassy of Canada had provided their support to the conference.
Recommendations have also been given to soften the language on media violation law to make it more conducive to the working journalists in Afghanistan.
"We are hopeful that the Ministry of Information and Culture will make the necessary changes in the Afghan Media Law," said Mujeeb Khalvatgar, the Executive Director of the Nai.
It may be recalled that the Ministry of Information recently amended and redrafted the imposed Afghan Media Law and opened the new draft for public comments, which were rejected by media watchdog groups and prominent members of the Afghan press.
The critics of the amended draft of Afghanistan's Media Law feared greater restrictions and increased government control over the activities of the country's independent media should the draft become law.