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Free press commitment from both contenders for Afghan presidency

Excerpt from a 4 September 2014 CPJ Blog post by Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator.

With little good news coming from Afghanistan amid the escalating violence and electoral standoff, here is something that goes against that tide. A coalition of Afghan journalist groups has got both presidential candidates in the disputed runoff election to endorse a 12-article statement of support for Afghanistan's media -- "Commitment of the Candidates of the Presidential Election's Runoff Phase In Support of Free Media and Journalists." Article 1: "I respect the value as an [sic] non-violable principle and pledge to spare no legal measures to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of speech." (The letter is also available in Dari and Pashto.)

The even better news is that the document was drafted by a significantly broad group -- the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC), Afghanistan's National Journalists Union, Nai, and the Afghan Independent Journalists Association -- which then acted in consort to get the endorsements, Najib Sharifi, director of AJSC, told CPJ. It's extremely encouraging that the groups could act in a concerted effort to bring this off. As we've noted before, very often there has been a discouraging lack of unity within the journalist community.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site

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