Price Of Independent Journalism In Afghanistan

The United States government continually describes Afghanistan as a citadel of democracy fighting the totalitarian Taliban and al-Qaeda. According to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission the National Security Directorate is constantly suppressing media freedom and preventing other voices being heard by the Afghan people. Mohammad Nasir Fayyaz was detained for “msrepresenting” government officials on his TV program. Actually the TV show was halted when Fayyaz questioned two government officials about illegal land grabbing. Security personnel claim Fayyaz was the one seeking bribes by demandng 24 hour electricity for his home. In 2007, the NDS detained Kamran Mir Hazar for publishing critical articles about the government on his website.

In April, 2007, under specific orders of the Attorney General, security personnel raided the offices of Tolo TV and arrested j ournlist Hamed Haidary for “incorrectly” reporting the words of the Attorney General. Amnesty International has urged the Afghan government to comply with the principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information. Unless the Afghan government can create an open forum of ideas, corruption will continue and people will drift to the Taliban who tend to avoid corruption .