Journalists Welcome Government’s Decision To Drop Media Law Amendments

The proposed amendments to the media law, which were introduced before parliament last month, have been dropped by the Afghan government.

The move comes after Parliamentarians and media personnel alike, objected to the proposed changes and called them in violation of the Afghan constitution and the values of freedom. The amendments would have required journalists to disclose their sources and allow the government to censor news reports.

The Senate and the Lower House of the Parliament expressed concerns about the amendments, prompting the government to establish a 12-member technical team to review the amendments.

After several meetings, the team voted against it.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) on Sunday welcomed President Ashraf Ghani’s recall of the amendments.

“At a time when the government is preparing for the peace talks with the hardline Taliban group, any amendment to the media law would have had serious consequences for media freedom in Afghanistan, adding to the growing insecurity and attacks that affect media outlets and journalists in the country,” said AFJC director Ahmad Quraishi said.

Earlier, Nai, the watchdog supporting open media in Afghanistan also welcomed the government’s decision.

“The current media law is a good law. No serious need to be amended, but a good and progressive law needs to be done with full consideration,” the official Nai statement said.

A number of journalists had written an open letter to Ghani raising their concerns and he had reassured them that the administration would safeguard press freedom.

The Presidential Palace also said on Sunday that they consider freedom of expression and media as one of the “core values” of Afghanistan and will defend it during talks with the Taliban.
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