June 13, 2015
Kabul:The newly established Afghanistan Radio & Television Union (ARTU) on Saturday presented the Architect of Freedom Press Award to former president Hamid Karzai, in recognition of his support for press freedoms during his tenure in office.
At the ceremony in Kabul on Saturday, Karzai pledged to act against any move that would compromise press freedom in Afghanistan. An independent media landscape is often considered one of the major gains of the Karzai era.
"I want to reaffirm my commitment to stay with the media against any move that could snatch their freedoms," Karzai told the gathering. "I want to call upon the media to operate freely."
Karzai acknowledged that he has often been criticized by the media, especially when it comes his stances on Afghanistan's relations with its western allies. On Saturday, Karzai reiterated his belief that the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan shouldn't mean the violation of Afghanistan's national sovereignty.
"If they respect our national unity then they will refrain from escalating divisions among our people," Karzai said. "They must not violate our national sovereignty and not hand it over to another country. But these points are not considered, so then we do not believe their presence would in the interest of Afghanistan," he added.
In addition, Honorary President of ARTU, Azizullah Aral, spoke at the gathering and discussed the reasoning behind the establishment of the union. "The union, in line with its charter, will strive to boost better coordination among media outlets, to bring about a safe working environment for media workers, develop facilities and provide technical facilities within the framework of a media cooperation process, and, most importantly, to offer better audiovisual services to the people of Afghanistan," Aral said.
In addition, Aral spoke about the importance of further modernizing and professionalizing the media industry in Afghanistan. He said that it would require better protecting media workers, improving capacities, establishing standards and connecting with regional and international media support networks.
The ARTU is expected to provide a channel through which Afghan media entities can collaborate with one another. Critical to this, Aral said, would be organizing conferences, information exchange and dispute settlement.
Currently, there are 30 radio and television networks that belong to the ARTU. Source: tolonews