Afghanistan’s international partners in a joint statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day reaffirmed their commitment to stand by its journalists and media sector.
The statement was issued by EU, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UNAMA, USA and the UK.
“A free and independent media and a strong media sector are essential parts of an inclusive and representative Afghanistan,” the statement said. “Free, safe and independent journalists and media organisations are necessary to help tackle corruption and allow people to participate meaningfully in democracy with access to accurate and trustworthy information.”
According to the statement, 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.
“We continue to support Afghan journalists, to stand up for their rights, and to oppose undue restrictions on their work.”
The statement also called for end to violence against journalists and said that impunity for such crimes remains a serious challenge.
“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 defence of a free and independent Afghan media. It must be defended,” the statement said.