Afghan journalists form umbrella body to ensure press freedom and defend their rights

20 Jan 2013

Afghan journalists form umbrella body to ensure press freedom and defend their rights

KABUL - A meeting of nine Afghan journalist associations and media rights groups announced today in Kabul the formation of an umbrella media body to ensure freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution of Afghanistan and defend rights of journalists in the country.

The organizers told a news conference that the establishment of the Afghanistan Journalists’ Federation (AJF) would strengthen democracy, independence of media and defend the rights of journalists.

The Federation aims to support independence of speech, ensure access to information and capacity building of media institutions, improve laws relating to media activities, establish connections with the international media organizations and defend the rights of journalists in Afghanistan, said founding members of the first such media body of Afghanistan.

“For the last four years, journalists associations and watchdog organizations have been negotiating for better coordination and joint efforts, which eventually resulted in the establishment of an umbrella organization called the Afghanistan Journalists’ Federation,” said Akhpalwak Safi, a member of the Federation and the Executive Director of the National Association of Journalists.

Article 34 of the Afghan Constitution has guaranteed the freedom of expression by saying this is “inviolable”.

The Federation will soon develop a two-year action plan to respond to the needs and concerns of journalist community in Afghanistan

Mr. Safi explained that the Federation would be centrally managed through a board comprised of nine members — one each from the nine founding member organizations.

The decisions of the board shall be endorsed after a vote of confidence by majority of the members. Six out of nine members should agree with the decision through their vote of confidence and at least seven members should be present at every meeting to complete the quorum.

Abdul Hameed Mobarez, a founding member of the Federation and Chairman of Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union (ANJU), said the Federation had been formed based on the principles of democracy. “I hope it will help institutionalize democracy and promote freedom of speech in the country,” said Mr. Mobarez.

By UNAMA Kabul