“We are deeply concerned about the deterioration in access to government-related information in Afghanistan,” the 30 independent Afghan media outlets said in a joint statement issued at a press conference in Kabul today.
“All government institutions have shortcomings when it comes to providing access to information, but the worst ones are: the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s Office, the National Directorate of Security, the office of the president and its procurement unit, the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Defence,” the statement said.
“Given the country’s current situation, in particular, the disputed results of the last presidential election in 2019 and the Taliban-imposed war, the Afghan government’s failure to apply the law on access to state-held information is unacceptable,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Afghanistan desk. “It is the state’s job to ensure that journalists have unrestricted access to information.”
The 30 media outlets include four privately-owned national TV channels, Tolo News (a 2005 RSF Press Freedom laureate and recipient of the 2016 City of Paris Medal for Information Heroes), TV1, Ariana News and Shamshad; the newspapers 8 Sobh (a 2012 RSF Press Freedom laureate), Etilaatroz and Mandegar; the radio stations Killde and Salam Watandar; and local broadcasters Hewad TV (in the southern province of Kandahar), Radio Azad in the northern province of Balkh and Asr TV in the western province of Herat.
Afghanistan is ranked 121st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.