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Afghan govt under fire over media ban

The Afghan govt came under severe criticism today for attempting to ban media coverage of escalating Taliban violence in case it deters people from voting in tomorrow's elections.

Written by Agencies | Kabul |
August 19, 2009 3:32:03 pm

The Afghan government came under severe criticism today for attempting to ban media coverage of escalating Taliban violence in case it deters people from voting in tomorrow’s elections. Fresh attacks hit Kabul today as Taliban gunmen stormed a bank building and fought pitched battles with police,making good on promises to instil fear among Afghans ahead of the vote.

Afghan and international journalists,who have flooded into Afghanistan to cover the vote,have reported being harassed and even beaten by security forces while trying to cover violent incidents.

Calling the ban unconstitutional,Rahimullah Samander,president of the Afghanistan Independent Journalists’ Association,said: “Journalists will ignore the ban.”

“It is a democratic day,a very important day for our independence,this type of ban does not sit well with democratic principles,” he said.

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The UN special representative in Afghanistan was looking into the ban to determine whether it was legal,and if not to get it rescinded,a UN official said on condition of anonymity.

“We are trying to establish what,if any,legal basis there is for this,but it doesn’t look like it is enforceable,” he said.

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