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UNESCO supports journalists training for reporting on elections in Afghanistan

07-07-2005 (Paris)
More than three hundred journalists and media professionals belonging to both governmental and independent media from all over Afghanistan took part on a three day workshop in Kabul about «The role of Media in Parliamentary Elections». The election-training exercise was in view of the upcoming political election on September 2005 (Wolesi Jirga and provincial elections).
The training was organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture in cooperation with the Bakhtar Information agency, UNESCO, Internews and JEMB; and with the support of the UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), UNAMA and the Asia Fundation.

From 28 to 30 June 2005, the participants from print (50%), radio (45%) and TV (5%) media outlets, of which two-third belonging to independent media, gathered in Kabul (110 were coming from the provinces). They discussed subjects such as: the right and duty of balance, accuracy and impartiality; the right and duty to inform during election; neutrality; non discrimination among candidates; raising voters’ understanding through print and electronic media on how to exercise the vote; role of freedom of the press during election (watchdog, reporting violation of electoral or media law etc); the safety of journalists (women’s in particular); clarification of Afghan election statute and local challenges.

During group-discussions, one of the most cogent issues that emerged from the participants was the concern about personal safety. Seead Monovic, a Bosnian journalist and media trainer, encouraged Afghan journalists to take a proactive part in the elections: «Journalists shouldn’t be afraid –Mr. Monovic said- because they have more power than they can imagine. »

The opening speakers were: Said Agha Sangcharaki, Deputy Minister of Information and Culture; Jawid Lodin, President’s spokesperson; Adrian Edwards, UNAMA’s Spokesperson; Anwar Alseead representing UNESCO Kabul Director; Bismallah Bismel, Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB); Shafiqha Habibi, Women Center of the Afghan Journalists Union; Sanjar Qiam, Executive Director of Nai (Internews Afghanistan).

The resource persons were: Amanullah Jahan-yaar, Bakhtar Information agency; Sultan Ahmad Baheen, JEMB; Sanjar Qiam, Nai; Farida Nekzad, Pajhwak News Agency; Bari Salaam, Good Morning Afghanistan Radio; David Wahab, UNESCO’s media consultant; Weriz Stanakzai, Director of Publications at the ministry of Information and Culture; Sakhi Munir, Anis; Zuhoor Afghan, Erada news-paper.

UNESCO made available for the participants a translation into Dari of the ‘Guidelines for Election Broadcasting’ prepared by Article 19, Global Campaign for Free Expression. Internews is preparing the publication of the seminar’s proceedings.
Related themes/countries

      · Afghanistan
      · Training of Media Professionals: News Archives 2005
      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2005
      · Media in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations: News Archives 2005
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