The Kabul Times.

Freedom of expression should be guaranteed in peace talks

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Freedom of expression is one of the significant achievements of Afghanistan government in the past 17 years and need to be protected. Nai or Support Open Media in Afghanistan says freedom of expression and media have been sidelined and forgotten in ongoing peace talks. Nai has stressed that freedom of expression and achievements should be discussed in ongoing peace talks and shared with media.
“During the past four rounds of peace talks between US officials and representatives of the Taliban group, achievements made in media have been sidelined. Freedom of expression as a protectable value should be included at any peace agreements. Secondly, a particular guarantee of the freedom of expression and media should be clearly delivered to media society when all sides reach peace agreement. Thirdly, media should be informed with details regarding the peace agreement,” said Mujeeb Khelwatgar, chief executive of Nai or Support Open Media in Afghanistan.
He further said that perpetrators of violence against journalists and media workers should never be forgiven by signing any peace agreement, adding that Afghanistan government and all involved sides should consider the verdict.
Freedom of expression has now changed to one of legal and rational demands of the people in the country and it is considered that no power can suppress the young generation of this soil and their voice for freedom of expression and media. Therefore, respect to freedom of expression is a big responsibility as it is one of moral values of the country.
The government of Afghanistan has also made continued efforts for the protection of freedom of expression and media in the country in the past 17 years as National Unity Government (NUG) is committed to defending and protecting freedom of expression in the country.
Concerns in connection with harming freedom of expression have come after the fourth round of peace talks between US officials and representatives of the Taliban group ended in Doha this Saturday. After ending the fourth round of the talks, Zalmay Khalilzad headed to Kabul and shared results of the talks.
Meanwhile, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a video message to the nation the other day stressed that values as national unity, national sovereignty, territorial integrity and principal rights of the country’s citizens were protected in peace process.
“Our commitment is to maintain peace in the country and prevent from any possible catastrophe, but there are values that are undebatable as national unity, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, powerful central government and principal rights of citizens,” President Ghani said.
Media organizations, journalists and civil society activists are stressing that no move should result in confining activities of open media in the country as freedom of expression and media are the sole achievements made in the past 17 years.

Lailuma Noori

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The Kabul Times.