‘Taliban propaganda’: Afghan newsmen oppose ban on Pakistani dailies

Published: September 24, 2012

Call for dialogue between journalists on either side for improved news content.

ISLAMABAD: 

It is typical of the fourth estate to decry the state’s iron hand when it strikes loud and hard. The ban on Pakistani newspapers by the Afghan government has been condemned by Afghan journalists who have asked for dialogue between media personnel of either country.

On Friday, Afghanistan banned all Pakistani newspapers in the country alleging that they were a ‘conduit for Taliban propaganda’ and published reports against Afghanistan’s national interests. “The newspapers are causing discontent between our countrymen,” said a statement by the Afghan interior ministry.

‘No positive results’

Afghanistan’s senior journalists stressed that media persons from both countries should sit together to discuss how to convey the truth without resorting to propaganda.

“I believe that the ban on Pakistani newspapers is no solution and I do not support such curbs,” said President of the National Union of Journalists of Afghanistan Abdul Hameed Mubariz while talking to The Express Tribune.

Mubariz said the recent tension over the cross-border attacks may have led to the ban on Pakistani papers. “Afghans are very sensitive about Pakistan’s rocket-shelling in Kunar and Nuristan,” he added.

Another senior Afghan journalist Sami Yousafzai, who reports for Newsweek magazine, described the Afghan ban as an unhealthy approach. “Many Pakistani newspapers, especially the English ones, have adopted a balanced approach towards events,” he said. However, he said that some Pakistani newspapers carry content which is not well received in Afghanistan.

Yousafzai added that the ban on newspapers will hardly be effective as people can always access newspaper content via the internet. He lamented the banning of Afghan TV channels in Pakistan.

Haji Sharafat, editor of the Afghan Islamic Press, said: “As an Afghan journalist, I would say that the ban on Pakistani papers will not have any positive results.” He added that action should be taken only if a certain newspaper was involved in propaganda against the Afghan government.

Border measures

The Afghan interior ministry instructed the border police in Nangarhar, Nuristan and Kunar provinces to ban the import of the newspapers and ordered them to collect all newspapers.

“The newspapers recently sent to Afghanistan mainly include reports against the Afghan forces. These reports are at odds with the Afghan people’s religious, cultural and social values and standards of Afghanistan’s freedom of speech,” the Afghan interior ministry said.

Islamabad has not shown any reaction to the Afghan move.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2012.

Reader Comments (4)

  • sabi
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:30AM

    If i don’t like certain newspapers I don’t read them.

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  • usman
    Sep 24, 2012 - 11:52AM

    afghan interior ministry is unaware that ban on newspapers does not work now in the world. many of those who read papers can have access to internet. please stop such negative things.

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  • Zalmai
    Sep 24, 2012 - 6:12PM

    The Afghan interior ministry acted justly by banning newspapers that promote the Taliban and portray the Afghan government and Afghan National Army as illegitimate.

    Pakistan has banned Afghan television and certain newspapers and websites that are deemed dangerous to its national interest and its only fair that Afghans also respond in kind by protecting its national interest. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Most Afghans still don’t have access to the internet and resort to reading newspapers published locally or from neighboring countries. This ban is aimed at curbing foreign propaganda in Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar specifically because of their proximity to areas under the control of TTP and other non state actors that try to undermine Afghan authorities.

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  • Abreez
    Sep 24, 2012 - 6:28PM

    Banning the newspapers is a proof how much Europe and America respect freedom of speech. After USSR invaded Afghanistan they lost and now nobody know about USSR. Now NATO invaded Afghanistan when they will leave nobody will know about NATO.
    3,000,000 Afghans are insisting they want to go home because their stay in Pakistan is enough now. They will be in Afghanistan very soon. In future we work for nobody, not for American, not for Europe, not for Russia but for our own good. We are going to be neutral, thank you America for making Pakistan neutral.Recommend

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