The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Afghan govt. never restrict media, freedom of expression: VP Danesh

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By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: In a telephone conversation with the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, the country’s second vice-president Mohammad Sarwar Danesh said the government of Afghanistan has no decision to restrict media, a statement from his office said Monday.
During the telephone conversation, both sides talked on mass media laws, peace process and women presence in the governmental and nongovernmental institutions, the statement said.
“The government of Afghanistan has no decision to restrict media and freedom of expression but persist on perseveration of freedom of expression and media freedom more than ever,” said the vice-president adding the media rule needed some amendment as it was made 10 years ago.
Some articles including the rights and privileges of journalists, type of registration and issuing work license were not clear and needed further amendment, said VP Danesh as quoted by the statement.
The issue was continually shared with the media outlet over the last one year in the ministry of justice and then sent to the Wolesi Jirga (lower house of people), after the cabinet approval.
Taking in mind the concerns of the media institutions about the draft law amendment, the bell would be returned from the house of people for further discussion by joint government and media committee at the Ministry of Justice to make sure that the changes being brought are not contrary to the constitution, international laws and freedom of expression, VP Danesh added.
British ambassador expressed pleasure over the details given by Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, the second vice-president of the country and said the government of Afghanistan has had good achievement in the field of freedom of media and that she was sure that the amendment expected to be brought in the media rules, was the best solution.
“In other countries, particularly Britain, media law has become controversial. Some people think the government wanted to restrict media and freedom of expression,” said the ambassador adding her government supports freedom of media and freedom of expression in Afghanistan and was ready to share its experiences with the Afghan media institution.
Touching on peace process with the Taliban, the country’s vice-president said the government of Afghanistan was committed on peace process and many Taliban prisoners have so far been released, the statement quoted.
He said talk on the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners were going on, but unfortunately, the Taliban side had not still taken positive step in this field. “They have increased violence in these days and no ceasefire has been ensured by them.”
The British ambassador regretted that the Taliban side had not still showed readiness for peace talks with the government.
She said the British government supported peace process in Afghanistan and emphasizes on the protection of values including freedom of the people of Afghanistan in the peace process and do its best to encourage the Taliban to reduce violence.
On peace talks and the role of women in the process, VP Danesh said: “Unfortunately there was some discrimination on women works in the government institutions, but the government was committed to fight it and to reach the goal the international partners’ cooperation was a needed.”
The British ambassador also said his government supported the enforcement of women’s role in the government organizations and their meaningful presence in the peace process and would do all its best to empower women in various fields, the statement quoted.
She said her country had training programs for the Afghan women and believed that women education help them get higher positions in the government institutions.
She went on as saying that her country in joint cooperation with Afghanistan and other international partners would make efforts for women rights preservation in the peace process.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.