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Afghani TV reporter fired for "liking" Facebook post

Journalist Rohullah Arman
Journalist Rohullah Arman

AFJC

An Afghan TV reporter for Channel 1 was fired after he "liked" a Facebook post about the channel's management.

Rohullah Arman told the Afghanistan Journalists Center that he lost his job after he "liked" a friend's Facebook post regarding the government's decision to include the name of German-born Andi Wilmers into the "Exit Control List" and the official's detention by Afghan Border Police at Kabul Airport, due to corruption.

"Technical manager Andy Volmerz showed me a post on Facebook and asked me, 'Is it you who liked the post?' I replied yes. Then he angrily said 'you are fired and no longer at your job'," Arman said.

According to Article 45 of the Afghanistan Media Law, works and materials which are considered libelous/defamatory to real and legal persons and cause damage to their personality and credibility are prohibited from being broadcast. However, since users can misunderstand the meaning of the 'like' feature on Facebook, they have different interpretations of this.

"I didn't betray the organization or a real person, nor did I write any comments; I just liked a post and it was my right," Arman added.

AFJC considers the reporter's dismissal an act in contravention of Afghanistan's laws and asks the station's management to clarify their decision to the public.

The use of social media has been rapidly increasing in Afghanistan, allowing people to express themselves and their thoughts freely. According to estimates there are nearly 750,000 social media users in Afghanistan, most of whom use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Networking with people from different circles is now an important part of many Afghan youths' lives. And social networking sites like Facebook makes this interaction even easier.

Afghan social media users marked the last week of Saratan on the solar calendar (23-29 July 2013) as 'social media week' in Afghanistan for the second year. The government has yet to recognize this week.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Since the posting of this story, AFJC has received a statement from Channel 1, which responded to the accusations as follows:

" . . . there is no official and truth-based evidence that can prove Rohullah Arman's accusation that he was fired for liking a Facebook post posted by the 1TV. Indeed he was fired from the TV station due to his low performance, long-lasting absence, and the misuse and sharing of information outside the office. In accordance to Afghan law, the 1TV Channel is highly committed to securing the rights of employees working with the channel. Whatever is claimed by Mr. Arman is completely biased and based on his own personal claims."

However, the reporter rejects the station's explanation and says that if these allegations were true, he would have received a warning letter before being fired from his job.

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