New York, August 19, 2009--The Afghan government should lift orders issued Tuesday for a media blackout on election-related violence during Thursday's presidential polls, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
"Censoring press coverage on election day goes directly against
the spirit of the democratic process
The English translation of the Foreign Ministry's statement--geared toward the international media--was couched as a request, reports said. Yet the Dari original local journalists received "makes clear that it is seriously forbidden to report and publish photographs on violence and to predict that there will be attacks," the Pajhwok Afghan News agency said in a statement posted today on their Web site. It was unclear how the prohibition would be enforced.
Local journalists widely condemned the directives, according to local and international reports. Taliban spokesmen frequently warn of strikes and claim responsibility for attacks through the media. Yet some commentators fear journalists may exaggerate Taliban assaults to attract viewers, news reports said.
In separate developments, police beat several reporters at
the scenes of a suicide bombing on Tuesday and during a confrontation with
gunmen in a Kabul bank on Wednesday; at least one photographer's camera was
broken, according to international news reports. Reuters said police briefly
detained two journalists from