Journalists in Afghanistan’s southeast region say information access is improving

1 Dec 2016

Journalists in Afghanistan’s southeast region say information access is improving

GARDEZ - Access to government information by members of the media, and the broader public in the country’s southeast region, is improving, according to journalists gathered at a UN-supported event in Gardez.

Some 20 journalists from Paktya, Paktika, Khost and Ghazni provinces took part in the forum, the third in a series supported by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Sahel Mangal, a member of the Paktya Press Club and a reporter at Pajhwok, pointed to several positive developments for journalists, including the marking this year in Paktya of the International Day for Universal Access to Information.

Mr. Mangal said public information is a right, not a privilege. Other journalists at the event echoed these comments, saying that access to information in the region and the trust between government officials and media have been slowly improving.

But some members of the media pointed to persisting challenges. Nowra Jan Baheer, from Khost Killid Radio, said the public’s access to official information from government sources should be improved.

Since 2015, UNAMA has been supporting journalist forums, which provide members of the media an opportunity to network with each other in person.

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.