In a joint statement embassies of the UK and Canada in Afghanistan, both marked the first anniversary of Afghanistan signing the Global Pledge on Media Freedom and joining the Media Freedom Coalition.
The Coalition is a partnership of 37 countries working to defend media freedom wherever it is threatened, the statement read.
“As co-chairs of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom, the UK and Canada reflect today upon the progress made to defend media freedom in Afghanistan. In July 2020, the Afghan Lower House of Parliament rejected amendments to the Mass Media Law, which would have had concerning implications for Afghan press freedom. Members of Afghanistan’s media community came together in solidarity, and we welcome the government’s decision to consult with them on any future changes”, UK and Canada said in the statement.
Both of the embassies indicated that the threat to the safety of journalists and media professionals still remains an obstacle to the full implementation of the Right to freedom of expression in Afghanistan, adding that “Unfortunately, Afghan journalists have faced growing levels of violence and insecurity over the past year. Members of the media, human rights activists, and other prominent members of civil society have been threatened, injured, or killed in targeted attacks – many of which are attributable to the Taliban and their proxies”.
Both nations in Afghanistan condemned the acts of violence and threats against people who want a developed and safer Afghanistan.
“We condemn all acts of violence, threats, censorship, and intimidation towards those who are fighting to create a safer, fairer Afghanistan.” the statement from the embassies read.
The statement noted that media outlets work “tirelessly to uncover the truth” and “bravely report on it”.
Canada and Britain demanded, “there must be full and transparent investigations into these heinous targeted attacks” and both nations conveyed their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who were killed.
“All parties to the conflict in Afghanistan have a moral responsibility to end violence as a demonstration of their commitment to peace. We expect parties to the Afghan peace negotiations, including the Taliban, to publicly condemn the targeted attacks on members of the media, civil society organizations, and the government”, the statement added, “We also call for greater support from each side for the protection of journalists and the freedom of expression”.
“Freedom of media and expression is a cornerstone of a democratic society and is essential for the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Attacks on media freedom are attacks on human rights,” the statement read.
Media has been of the biggest successes of the last two decades and it should not be allowed to falter in the face of growing insecurity, the joint statement read.
UK and Canada reiterated their commitment to work collaboratively with Afghanistan to defend its media and courageous journalists.
“Where media representatives are free to do their work safely, societies are more prosperous and resilient,” the statement concluded.
Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs for Strategy and Policies Sediq Sediqqi tweeted on Wednesday, that “the Afghan government will deter enemies’ any attempt to falter or silence our media. We will stand firm to uphold one of our best gains of the past twenty years with our international allies who helped us to achieve it. No to dark ages”.