03.05.2010 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

UN and Afghan Government call for “Freedom of Information” on World Press Freedom Day

@UNESCO/Mohammad Amin Sadiqi

The United Nations and the Government of Afghanistan today emphasized the need for freedom of information and the importance of a free press at a day-long event in Kabul to mark World Press Freedom Day, celebrated world-wide on 3 May.

This year’s theme highlights the public’s right to gain access to information, and the responsibility of governments and organizations to readily share information which is vital to a democratic society.

Among those present at the function included Dr Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, Minister of Information and Culture; Martin Kobler, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Afghanistan; Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCO Country Director; journalist union representatives and the media.

Addressing the press, Minister Raheen said: “Freedom of expression is a natural right of any human being anywhere in the world.”

Martin Kobler, deputy special UN envoy, acknowledged the difficult conditions under which the media works and stressed the relevance of this year’s theme.

“The need for accurate and timely information – from authorities and other influential figures – is essential not just for the media to do their jobs, but also so that the people can be better educated about issues that affect them,” he added.

“We may not consciously exercise our right to know. But each time we pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV or radio news, or access the internet, the quality of what we see or hear depends on the media having access to accurate and up-to-date information,” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, in a statement released for the day.

Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCO Country Director, said he hoped “World Press Freedom Day will be a starting point for a renewed commitment for all of us to further the notion of freedom of information and freedom of press in Afghanistan.”

According to Abdul Hamid Mobarez, President of the Afghanistan National Journalists Union, “freedom of information is an important pillar of democracy.”

UNESCO is the UN agency mandated to promote free, transparent and fair communications globally. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UANMA) is mandated to promote stability and governance in Afghanistan.

The UN called on the Afghan Government and media to foster freedom of information in Afghan society, as a cornerstone of freedom of expression, a fundamental human right seen as essential for building peace and making Afghanistan a sustainable democracy.




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