May 3, 2021
Kabul—Today, on World Press Freedom Day, the embassies of the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden as well as the delegations of the EU and UNAMA issued a joint statement in support of Afghan Journalists and the Media. The statement demonstrates that the international community remains committed to Afghanistan, and reaffirms their ongoing support for the media sector in Afghanistan.
“Today we join Afghanistan in celebrating World Press Freedom Day. Afghanistan's vibrant media sector is one of the country’s greatest success stories of the last two decades,” the statement said.
The statement said that a free and independent media and a strong media sector is an essential part of an inclusive and representative Afghanistan. It added that free, safe, and independent journalists and media organizations are necessary to help tackle corruption and allow people to participate meaningfully in democracy with access to accurate and trustworthy information.
The media is integral to building public support, creating a shared understanding and support for peace and any future political settlement to the conflict, holding to account those who would oppose peace for their own narrow political ends, the statement stated.
“As Afghanistan’s international friends and partners, we reaffirm our commitment to stand by its journalists and the media sector. We continue to support Afghan journalists, to stand up for their rights, and to oppose undue restrictions on their work,” the statement concluded
The international community missions in Afghanistan said:” The campaign of violence against journalists and media professionals must end. Journalists must be protected, and those who commit acts of violence and murder against workers in the sector must be brought to justice.” The statement said the international community missions recognize that female journalists and media professionals are particularly at risk. The impunity for such crimes remains a serious challenge and creates a chilling environment, limiting the media sector’s ability to operate freely.
The statement added that Afghanistan’s free and independent media sector has been hard-won. Many Afghans have sacrificed their time, their energy, their money, and, for some, their lives to build this crucial public good. We pledge our continued support in defense of a free and independent Afghan media. It must be defended.
Meanwhile, a British Embassy Spokesperson said: “The UK remains committed to supporting Afghanistan. A free and independent media and a strong media sector is an essential part of an inclusive and representative Afghanistan. As we transition to a new chapter of international support for Afghanistan, as Afghanistan’s international friends and partners, we reaffirm our commitment to stand by its journalists and the media sector”