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'Govt Seeking to Suffocate Press Freedom': Journalists

The journalist community and a number of legal experts on Thursday called on the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to release the four journalists from Kandahar.

They said the Afghan government by arresting the journalists wants to suffocate press freedom in the country.

This comes a day after the European Union (EU) called on the Afghan government to recognize the media as its "strategic partner."

The EU said that the government cannot tell the media what the national interest is.

Three of the journalists--Bismillah Watandost, Qudrat Sultani and Mohib Obaidi--work for Radi Millat Ghag, and Sanaullah Siyam is a local cameraman in Kandahar. They were arrested by the NDS when they returned from Spin Boldak district on Monday where they went to investigate claims of civilian deaths at the hands of the Taliban.

These journalists have since been transferred to Kabul for further investigations.

“The NDS alleges that these journalists were putting out propaganda in support of the Taliban,” said Najib Sharifi, the head of the Journalists’ Safety Committee. “Along with that, (the NDS alleges) one of the journalists sent a message to the governor of Kandahar to surrender to the Taliban,” he said.

“If this process continues, the cycle of reporting in Afghanistan will be stopped,” said Latif Yaqoubi, a journalist in Kabul.

“The government should immediately release these journalists, if it does not release them, then it should show the evidence to justify their arrest,” said Azizah Kermani, a journalist in Kabul.

“The government has the responsibility to ensure the security of journalists and every citizen of Afghanistan,” said legal expert Abdul Subhan Misbah.

The NDS declined to provide a comment on the issue.

'Govt Seeking to Suffocate Press Freedom': Journalists

This comes a day after the European Union (EU) called on the Afghan government to recognize the media as its "strategic partner."

تصویر بندانگشتی

The journalist community and a number of legal experts on Thursday called on the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to release the four journalists from Kandahar.

They said the Afghan government by arresting the journalists wants to suffocate press freedom in the country.

This comes a day after the European Union (EU) called on the Afghan government to recognize the media as its "strategic partner."

The EU said that the government cannot tell the media what the national interest is.

Three of the journalists--Bismillah Watandost, Qudrat Sultani and Mohib Obaidi--work for Radi Millat Ghag, and Sanaullah Siyam is a local cameraman in Kandahar. They were arrested by the NDS when they returned from Spin Boldak district on Monday where they went to investigate claims of civilian deaths at the hands of the Taliban.

These journalists have since been transferred to Kabul for further investigations.

“The NDS alleges that these journalists were putting out propaganda in support of the Taliban,” said Najib Sharifi, the head of the Journalists’ Safety Committee. “Along with that, (the NDS alleges) one of the journalists sent a message to the governor of Kandahar to surrender to the Taliban,” he said.

“If this process continues, the cycle of reporting in Afghanistan will be stopped,” said Latif Yaqoubi, a journalist in Kabul.

“The government should immediately release these journalists, if it does not release them, then it should show the evidence to justify their arrest,” said Azizah Kermani, a journalist in Kabul.

“The government has the responsibility to ensure the security of journalists and every citizen of Afghanistan,” said legal expert Abdul Subhan Misbah.

The NDS declined to provide a comment on the issue.

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