Abdullah vows to protect freedom of expression

Abdullah vows to protect freedom of expression

December 25, 2014

Kabul: Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah said on Thursday the Afghans had won the freedom of expression at the cost of their blood and no one would be allowed to snatch the constitutional right from them.

During a meeting with media representatives at his office in Kabul, Abdullah pledged the unity government would do all it could to safeguard the freedom of expression in the country on a priority basis.

Over the past decade, he noted, the growth of media outlets in Afghanistan had been unprecedented. “We have achieved at the expense of our blood. No one will be able to trample on our right to the freedom of speech.”

The unity government was ready to study the challenges being faced by media organisations, the CEO said, promising all possible steps to promote responsible journalism and facilitate balanced coverage of key issues.

He went on to reiterate his vow to take practical steps to bring perpetrators of violence against journalists to justice. On Nov. 23, he had said impunity for perpetrators of crimes against journalists would end.

At today's meeting, he reaffirmed his pledge: “In the first step, we are ready to access the murder cases of two journalists. No one would be exempted from punishment.”

At least 29 journalists have been killed over the past two decades, but the people behind their murder continue to enjoy impunity. Seventeen more media professionals lost their lives to blasts and fighting.

Abdullah remarked violence of any kind against journalists and media activists was intolerable for government, which would deal with the perpetrators in a harsh manner. He also stressed respect for women journalists.Pajhwok