Support for Kandahar media professionals the focus of UN meeting

28 Feb 2016

Support for Kandahar media professionals the focus of UN meeting

KANDAHAR - UNAMA expressed its commitment to freedom of expression and continuing support to media in Afghanistan during a meeting with journalists in Kandahar city today.

At the meeting, journalists raised concerns about safety and access to information, while highlighting the importance of providing accurate and timely information to Kandahar residents.

The Kandahar discussion followed a Kabul meeting in which Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, talked with Afghan media professionals about journalist safety and freedom of expression in the country.

Sami Ghairatmal, head of Kandahar’s branch of media-advocacy group NAI, said local media correspondents face serious challenges, not least among them being intimidation and access to first-hand information. He noted that although media outlets in Afghanistan have experienced growth in recent years, several outlets in Kandahar have either closed or merged with others.

Mr. Ghairatmal said that the closures -- due to a lack of financial resources -- would have a negative impact on freedom of expression and independent media.

Simon Hermes, Head of UNAMA’s Kandahar office, said UNAMA supports the role of media in Afghanistan, and stressed that the mission encourages various parties in the community to respect the integrity of journalists.

UNAMA is mandated to support Afghan institutions and civil society groups to enhance their contributions in disseminating messages on human rights, women rights, youth issues, development, peace and reconciliation and other messages related to UNAMA mandate.