Concerns mount over media’s economic challenges

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The Afghanistan Journalists and Media Organizations Federation (AJMOF) voiced its concerns on economic challenges facing the media, saying if immediate attention is not paid to the media’s financial problems, no media outlet will remain active in the next six months in the country.

AJMOF officials at a press conference in Kabul on Monday said the media has become very vulnerable following the political change in the country in mid-August last year, facing financial challenges as well accessing information.

“Today some media outlets are closed, and reporters are unemployed. Some reporters have switched to other jobs, but some have not found any employment opportunities. They are facing problems and cannot feed their families,” said Hujatullah Mujaddedi, a member of the federation.

The federation in a statement urged the Ministry of Information and Culture to resume the activities of the committee that investigates media-related violations and helps reporters gain access to information.

Meanwhile, a number of reporters at the conference urged the organizations supporting journalists to be honest in working and supporting the reporters.

“If the money was managed correctly, today no reporter would be facing economic problems and many outlets would not have ceased operating,” Mena Habib, a reporter said. Ahad Tanha, a reporter, said: “The media-supporting organizations that have established the federation should give guarantees that they will not repeat the actions of the previous organizations, when their officials embezzled money and also evacuated their relatives and themselves (instead of real reporters).”

The federation officials said UNAMA in a meeting with them in Kabul has pledged to support media and reporters from the $600 million fund that the EU has pledged to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

“In our meeting with UNAMA about three to four months ago on how to enable media outlets to stand on their own feet, UNAMA officials pledged that they will include media and reporters in their list of beneficiaries of the $600 million that EU is providing to the people of Afghanistan,” said Hafizullah Barakzai, a senior member of the federation.

Abdulhaq Emad, head of the publication department of the Ministry of Information and Culture, at the conference said the ministry is working to resolve the challenges facing the media. “We need to continue and stay patient for six months, only six months. We will get out of this crisis,” he said.

Media outlets have been facing financial challenges since the fall of the republic system and hundreds of outlets have been closed due the problems.—Agencies

 

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