03 – January – 2017
President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s decree on better implementation of the laws related to mass media to reinforce liberty of speech and ensure access to information
Based on the president’s decree, following orders are approved,
In order to better implement endorsed laws of the country in the area of supporting mass media, to provide facilities for legal activities of mass media and media activists, to ensure safety of the media’s personnel during their duties, to build and promote spirit of cooperation among the government’s officials and media, and to reinforce the rights of media and citizens on access to information with consideration to the obligation of protecting supreme interests of the country.
a)Completing legislative framework for media activities and access to information as well as creating code of conduct associated with activities of journalists and media activists
1.Ministry of Information and Culture, Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Service Commission, and Ministry of Justice shall prepare and process the plan of legislative documents related to categorization of information and documents in which the offices’ obligation on ensuring the citizens’ access to information and protecting privacy of offices should be segregated based on nationally and internationally accepted criteria.
2.Responsible civil society institutions, associations of media activists as well as media officials shall devise and endorse code of conduct for journalists and media activists in order to properly ensure their rights and legal duties, and shall take stern measures to promote and accurately implement the code.
b)Promotion of cooperation with media
3. Ministries and governmental offices shall provide required facilities for mass media personnel to contact and obtain information from the relevant officials including the Government Media and Information Center, offices of spokesmen and units of media, relations and public outreach through a suitable and rational conduct in order to better implement legal obligations in delivery of information as well as complying with the religious principle ‘the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice’.
4. Defense and Security institutions shall incorporate the rights and obligations of their relevant entities as well as the ways to deal suitably with the media personnel into their training institution’s curriculum in order to fulfill their legal obligations on providing information regarding those activities associated with protecting the country, the constitution, and reinforcing security and rights of the country’s citizens with consideration to the current security status.
c)Pursuit of media violations by assigned legal institutions:
5. The commission for addressing media complaints and violations of Ministry of Information and Culture is the only authorized entity for addressing and resolving legal conflicts which are directly raised by legal activities of media and their personnel. Attorney General’s Office can pursue such cases if they are officially relinquished by the mentioned commission to AGO. Otherwise, AGO and other governmental offices shall avoid pursuing of the cases related to activities of professional journalists and media even they are received from governmental offices.
6. The report on addressing the cases related to murder of mass media’s personnel, without consideration to the reason of crime, which are committed since establishment of the interim administration shall be publicized, and those cases in process shall be presented to public people at the earliest possibility.
All governmental offices in the capital and provinces, civil society entities, associations of media activists and mass media in the country are obliged to implement the contents of this decree, and provide required cooperation to Administrative Office of the President to monitor its accurate implementation.