His expulsion violates freedom of information and contravenes Afghanistan’s legal procedure
Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s expulsion of the New York Times’ Kabul correspondent, Matthew Rosenberg, by the Afghan attorney general’s office after it initially banned him from leaving the country. A communiqué issued by the attorney general’s office and published in the Afghan media on 20 August said the decision to expel Rosenberg was taken in response to an article he wrote for the newspaper’s 19 August issue about the political impasse in Afghanistan since the first round of the presidential election on 6 April. The article quoted anonymous sources as saying discussions were under way among high-ranking officials about forming an interim government before a meeting of NATO countries in September. “Regardless of the criticism levelled against the New York Times article, pressuring the reporter to reveal his sources and then expelling him was both unwarranted and illegal,” said Réza Moïni, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Iran-Afghanistan desk. “The attorney-general should not have begun any proceedings until requested by the commission for the verification of press offences and only then after obtaining a court’s permission. This dangerous decision violates the rule of law and must be rescinded.” Afghanistan is ranked 128th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.