Thursday, September 17, 2009
International Journalists Slam Karzai
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international organization, has written a letter to President Karzai rebuking him for the treatment of journalists in the Kandahar province, particularly in the weeks leading up to the election.
Journalists have complained about intimidation and harassment from the local government, which is headed by President Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai. Journalists were instructed not to report on attacks during the lead-up to the election out of concern for “intimidating voters.” Some publications indicated that they had to receive approval from local officials before being allowed to continue operations.
The Karzai government has been accused of widespread corruption for years. The best way to root out government corruption is through a robust free press. By clamping down on news organizations, the Karzai government is continuing its mockery of the democratic experiment, and planting the seeds of its own demise. Without permitting criticism from journalists, the central government will increasingly lose touch with the country it is governing, and drive more people into supporting the Taliban.