By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: A number of Afghan media officials and journalists Saturday officially launched ‘The Freedom of Speech House’ which is aimed at supporting the values of free speech, the media, and journalists. During an event to mark the official launch in Kabul, media workers called for an immediate end to the targeted assassinations of journalists and urged the government to prosecute those responsible. The new center has been funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Information and Culture and will represent the rights and values of the media community in the country.
EU Ambassador to Kabul Andreas Von Brandt also addressed guests and called on warring parties to stop targeting journalists and media workers. “Mursal Wahidi, Shahnaz Raufi, Sadia Sadat, Ilyas Dayee, and Samim Faramarz were all murdered because of their profession,” he said.
“These targeted attacks not only deprived the victims of their future but they can also be qualified as war crimes,” Von Brandt noted. “The EU is not only protecting free speech, the EU is the foremost, the world’s largest and the most successful experiment in peacemaking,” he said.
“I stand here to testify that understanding between hereditary enemies is actually possible and peaceful transitions can be managed, but all this needs of course is compromise and the readiness for each side to make concessions.” “The EU stands ready to help [Afghanistan],” he said.
Honoring works and sacrifices of the media and journalists in Afghanistan, acting Minister of Information and Culture Mohammad Tahir Zuhair said: “If the peace talks continue, the representative of the country’s media community should be present and participate in it.”
The acting minister also stressed that in the last 20 years, one of the most important achievements in Afghanistan has been freedom of expression, growth and development of various media, both government and non-governmental organizations defending freedom of expression and the rights of journalists.
The acting minister also emphasized on building a township for journalists and the execution of Medal of Freedom of Expression.
Meanwhile, in support of journalists, the center on Saturday also awarded Afghan female journalist Anisa Shahid with their inaugural journalist of the year award.