In cooperation with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission conducted the Media House Nangarhar a gathering with media representatives of the eastern regions. 26 media experts and activists participated in the meeting, which received technical and professional assistance from the Mediothek.
At the beginning of the gathering, Najubullah Babrakzai, a representative from the Commission, talked about role of journalists and human rights and shed light on the agenda of program. He said:”Human rights commission has the right and privilege to propose reforms to government and bring pressure upon the government, for the sake of balance. We rely on free media to present a realistic picture of society, so we will be able to figure out how the state of human right is currently. Is it changing for the better or for the worst? How will it be in two years later from today? Will it remain as it is now? Will it improve and progress or will it regress?"
They discussed the challenges of media in regards to accessing information and the improvements it has made in this regards. Participants shared their concerns and views, adding that the governmental institutions in Eastern region do not cooperate with media, unless it benefits them.
"Most often we do not get answers to our inquiries and questions in a timely manner" one participant added. Participants also mentioned that journalists are sometimes threatened; there are numerous incidents where journalists have been warned via telephone and other means to refrain from certain things.
The discussions were not only focused on security and access to information, the participants also discussed media sustainability and financial viability. During the meeting the participants listed the huge challenges media in Afghanistan has to face. One of the issue brought up here is license and the extension of the license. As "obtaining a license takes 3 to 4 months", said one partaker.
"We have freedom of expression here, but the ears of the government are deaf" expressed a participant. However, some participants blamed journalists for sensationalizing issues and blowing things out of proportion in some instances. Journalists are involved in internal revelries and this divide them and make them vulnerable, they argued.
Representatives of Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission promised to carry the concerns and voice of journalists to governmental officials concerned and discuss the issue with them hands on.