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Journalists boycott Wolesi Jirga proceedings

September 28, 2016

Kabul: Journalists on Wednesday boycotted the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament proceedings after what they said the house security guards treated them with a harsh behavior.

The journalists when wanted to enter the parliament building were prevented by security guards in compliance with directives from the Wolesi Jirga secretary. The journalists were told they could not enter until the house’s session starts.

However, the journalists criticized the action of guards and collectively decided to boycott the session.

Romal Khuram, one of the journalists, says it was not for the first time that the guards created problems for them. He said the reporters always faced similar behavior while covering parliament events.

He said most often the guards prevented reporters from taking photos inside the parliament and even sometimes forcibly snatched cameras from journalists, he added.

Khwaja Basir Fitri, a Pajhwok Afghan News reporter, also parliament journalists’ committee head, said: “We boycotted the Wolesi Jirga meeting due to bad behavior of security guards, the absence of chairs for reporters and poor sound system, we would not cover parliament meetings until the problems are resolved.”

He said the mentioned problems had been shared several times with the Wolesi Jirga secretary, but reporters were not allowed to take pictures of events from different corners.

Zabih Zahir, another parliament reporter, said: “The journalists waited for half an hour outside the parliament and they were not allowed to enter the gallery, the reporters are behaved like prisoners.”

He also said they would not cover parliament proceedings until their problems were resolved.

Ramazan Bashardost, a lawmaker representing Kabul people, said “journalists have complained several times about bad behavior, such attitude should be used against terrorists not journalists who constantly working for freedom and the nation.”

He said he had shared the issue with his colleagues. He hoped the administrative board of Wolesi Jirga would resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Bashardost said journalists played the role of a bridge between the people and the government and they should be treated with good behavior.

Jumma Din Gayanwal, a Meshrano Jirga member, said the right to the freedom of speech and access to information had been added to the Constitution. He said no one had the right to negatively behave with journalists and prevent them from accessing information.

The Wolesi Jirga summoned ministers of refugees and repatriation  and foreign affairs today to brief lawmakers about the situation of Afghan refugees living abroad.Pajhwok