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90pc of journalists face problems in access to information

90pc of journalists face problems in access to information

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On
May 30, 2017 - 20:12

KABUL (Pajhwok): A survey conducted by a free media advocacy group, Nai, released on Tuesday showed nearly 90 percent of journalists faced problems in obtaining information, but the Presidential Palace rejected the claim.

The survey was carried out in 13 provinces including Badakhshan, Bamyan, Balkh, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghazni, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar and Takhar during a period of one month.

Some 180 journalists and media professionals were interviewed and asked whether they faced problems in access to information or not.

The journalists were also asked about three major problems while obtaining information.

Nearly 90 percent of the journalists and the workers said they faced with serious problems while asking for information. They accused government officials of double standards, making excuses and even threatening them.

The interviewees said government officials did not know about the access to information and they considered interviews and conferences as access to information.

They said the government had done nothing good thing regarding sharing information with media except approving the access to information law.

Mujib Khilwatgar, executive director of Nai, told a press conference here that nine among each 10 journalists faced problems in finding information.

He said government officials shied away from facing journalists or extended a limited cooperation to the media by giving interviews and press conferences.

“Journalists say the worst problem they face are threats from government officials when they are asked for information, the threats become serious when journalists prepare investigative reports about corruption,” he said.

But acting spokesman to the Presidential Palace, Shah Hussain Murtazavi, said the Nai survey was in conflict with the ground reality.

He said there was no doubt the culture of access to information had not been institutionalized but the government had taken strong steps for supporting free media and their access to information.

He added the access to information law had been enforced and the president’s order of sharing information with the media implemented.

mds/ma