The Chairman of Afghanistan Media and Research Center (AMRC) and the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Outlook Afghanistan, Dr. Hussain Yasa, was apprehended without a mentioned reason by National Directorate of Security (NDS) from Darul Aman neighborhood in Kabul on Monday evening. He was kept in custody for almost 24 hours and released on Tuesday evening, after being questioned for the unknown crime. AMRC sources believe that the action was an attempt to irritate Dr. Hussain Yasa as he has been the flag-carrier of free media and freedom of speech in Afghanistan.
Since the ouster of Taliban and the presence of international community in Afghanistan, there have been claims both by Afghan government and its allies that remarkable developments have been made in the field of media and journalism. However, there are very serious concerns regarding the matter; among which the use of authority to dominate and even subjugate Afghan media has been the most notable one. The highly centralized nature of Afghan political system has not been able to tolerate the criticism and promulgate democratic culture in the country. Therefore, the use of coercion to keep the media silent and inactive has been displayed every now and then in some form or the other.
The editorial board of Daily Outlook Afghanistan believes in unbiased and constructive role of media. The services and endeavors of the Daily are witness to this claim. The newspaper has always strived to prioritize the freedom of speech and disseminate awareness among the common masses regarding their rights and obligations and, in fact, has played a role in having a better country.
So, the editorial board considers the incident a blow to freedom of speech and truly democratic environment. Therefore, it condemns this incident in the strongest words and demands that the promised freedom of speech and independence of media should be preserved by the relevant authorities in any case.
It is only through healthy and constructive criticism of media that the government can have a better look at the outcome of its policies and can get a chance to improve itself. In the modern states of the world, media is considered as one of the main organs of state; while in our country Afghanistan it is still being dominated by the misuse of authority.
AMRC's Vice-Chairman, Kazim Ali Gulzari, commenting on the stand of AMRC said," AMRC, insisting on the freedom of speech and independence of media, raise voice against this condemnable action and demand that the authorities must fulfill their obligations responsibly towards the country instead of dominating media through misuse of authority."
Raising voice with AMRC, the dominant media outlets and organizations condemned the action and demanded from the government not to harass media organizations and personnel. All the organizations agreed that the future of true democratic system depends on the constructive role of media, which should be further developed, instead of being subjugated.
The representatives of Afghanistan National Front (ANF), Ahmad Zia Massoud, Haji Muhammad Mohaqqiq, Gen. Abdur Rashid Dostum, Amrullah Saleh and others condemned the incident and demanded from President Karzai to take notice of the action and play his role in making Afghan media achieve its deserving position.