The Attorney General's Office (AGO) said on Tuesday that broadcasting news that harms the national interest is being considered a crime.
The AGO warns that based on Afghan laws, the spread of rumors, conspiracies unrealistic and partial news by media will impact national sovereignty and the national interests of the country and is considered a crime.
The ministries of information and culture, haj and religious affairs, women's affairs, and the Attorney General's Office held a joint conference titled ‘Consulting conference on improvement of media quality and law conformity’ on Tuesday in Kabul.
High ranking authorities who participated in the conference praised the freedom of media in the last two decades but they criticized the activities of some of the news networks.
“The applicable law of the country deems the broadcast of baseless rumors, lies, conspiracies and biased news--which harms territorial integrity, state sovereignty and national interests--as crimes, and the laws are clear on how to act against the perpetrators of these crimes,” said Zabiullah Kalim, acting director for the Attorney General Office.
The minister of justice, while accusing some media of breaching laws, stressed that media should use “martyr” term for the victims of security forces who lost their lives in wars against enemies of Afghanistan.
“The martyr terms should be used for those security forces who lost their lives in defending their country, all mass media are obliged to use martyr term in accordance with the laws,” Fazel Ahmad Manawi said.
Other institutions who participated in the conference, while emphasizing the importance of impartiality in news coverage, said the media should not be a source of spreading fear or despair in the community.
Qasem Vafaeizadeh, the acting minister of information and culture, said: “The principle of neutrality has always been in front of our eyes during the editing of news. It does not mean that we should be a stage for spreading fear and panic in the community that has no positive message but only making people desperate."
But the remarks in the conference have also drawn sharp criticism from a number of journalists and members of the media community. They asked officials in the conference to document the violations of the law by media networks and make it clear for them how the media outlets are breaching the law.