The foundation stone for a memorial in memory of media victims killed in Afghanistan in the past 16 years was laid in Kabul’s Pul-e-Bagh-e-Omomi area in Kabul on Saturday.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, MPs, media workers and other senior government officials, including acting minister of information and culture, attended the ceremony.
The area chosen for the memorial was once a popular venue for book shops in the city. The book stores backed on to a wall in the area which was once called the “wall of democracy”.
It is here that the new memorial will be built.
Addressing guests at the ceremony, Abdullah said sacrifices made by the media in Afghanistan have helped the country achieve freedom of speech, as it stands today.
“Those who dumb the voice of science, knowledge, the voice and the rights of humans, are found on the dark side of history,” Abdullah said, referring to militant groups who have committed deadly attacks against civilians and media workers.
“And those who stand and defend the rights (of the people) and sacrifice their lives in this way, and are ready to make sacrifices, and maintain this as an achievement, they are on the bright side of history. They are in a place where they lay the foundation for the improvement of development in the country.”
“I thank all the fighters of freedom of speech in Afghanistan,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah once again expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the 2016 attack on TOLO TV – which claimed the lives of seven staff members. The attack took place two years ago today, Saturday 20 January.
He said following this incident, the media in the country chose a clear and committed route to provide information to the people and to support freedom of speech.
Abdullah said the National Unity Government stands by the people in terms of supporting freedom of speech in the country.
He stated that the new memorial will be a 'stab to the hearts of those who want to silence the voice of the people’ in Afghanistan.
He reiterated that there is no excuse for violence against journalists in the country.