08.05.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

Afghanistan Celebrates World Press Freedom Day “Media a tool for accountability for Afghan People”

07 May 2013 Kabul, Afghanistan |Today UNESCO, UNDP, Afghanistan Ministry of Information and Culture and Afghanistan Journalists Federation jointly celebrated the World Press Freedom Day under the global theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”.

07 May 2013 Kabul, Afghanistan |Today UNESCO, UNDP, Afghanistan Ministry of Information and Culture and Afghanistan Journalists Federation jointly celebrated the World Press Freedom Day under the global theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”.  

More than 150 journalists, senior government representatives and members of the international community attended the Kabul observance of the 2013 World Press Freedom Day. The launch in Kabul was led by the Afghan Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Din Mohammad Mobarez Rashidi, Ms. Helai Ershad, Member of Parliament, President of the Education, Culture and Religion Commission, Ms Massoumeh Torfeh, Director, Strategic Communication and Spokespersons Unit, UNAMA, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez, UNDP Country Director, and Mr. Paolo Fontani, UNESCO Representative to Afghanistan.   

In his Opening Remarks, Mr Din Mohammad Mobarez Rashidi noted the many strides that Afghan media had made during the recent years in raising the standards of professional coverage of news in the country. Reiterating his commitment to strengthening efforts to safeguard freedom of thought and expression for the media in Afghanistan, the Minister said the Government of Afghanistan would continue to promote an enabling environment in which all media persons felt safe to report on daily happenings, including events and stories that had a bearing on the lives of the citizens. 

Ms Torfeh remarked that despite the notable achievements made in the field of media, Afghan journalists are still facing daily threats, intimidation and arrests that undermine their ability to operate professionally. This is not acceptable and is to the detriment of the country.

A joint message by Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, delivered by Mr Paolo Fontani, Head of UNESCO Afghanistan, stated that “on this World Press Freedom Day, we call on Governments, societies and individuals to do their utmost to protect the safety of all journalists, offline and online. Everyone has a voice; all must be able to speak freely and in safety”.

The World Press Freedom Day in Kabul was marked by the launch of the Afghan edition of UNDP’s Development Advocate, the flagship news magazine from New York. The magazine, available in Dari, Pashto and English language, captures stories of transformative change in Afghan lives during the recent years across various areas of UNDP work in Afghanistan backed by the international community.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez, UNDP Country Director said the World Press Freedom Day was an occasion to applaud and pay tribute to the work of the increasingly vibrant media sector. “In the backdrop of an evolving democracy with fragile conditions for rule of law, Afghan journalists are doing their best to inform and educate the public, and providing a tool for accountability for the Afghan people”, Mr Rodriguez observed.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the celebration since 3 May was first proclaimed World Press Freedom Day at the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.




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