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First female journalists center initiation hopeful

MARCH 7, 2017

KABUL: Growing problems faced by woman journalists, including double standard policy, discrimination, unequal wages, street and sexual harassments in both society and media, as well as verbal violence, required the Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ) to be established in Afghanistan.

The main aim of the center was also to identify the challenges faced by women journalists to help advocate their rights in the country.

The CPAWJ is established in cooperation with Reporters Sans Frontier (RSF) or Reporters without Border, at a time, when at least four of many journalists killed in the last 14 years, have been women.

None of their files have been still investigated or concluded and shared with media, said Farida Nekzad, director of the center who provided the audiences with information about female journalists’ situation in a gathering held to inaugurate the institution.

“Advocacy for women journalists to ensure equal rights, access information about their situation in Afghanistan, support and strengthen them and provide them with work and help them establish relation with governmental and nongovernmental organizations are from the basic program of the center,” she added.

According to her, helping women journalists (who left their jobs for certain reasons), return to work-areas was also her led center’s goal.

Meantime, Reza Mueni, the in-charge of the Reporters Sans Frontier (RSF) for Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan, stressed on support to women journalists and said: “This is impossible to defend freedom of expression, unless women journalists are supported.”

On behalf of the RSF, he pledged to spare no measure to support female journalists and train them journalism profession.

Mrs. Zuhra Yousuf, Senior Advisor on Women Affairs of the country’s First Lady’s Office, pointed to her experiences as a woman journalist and called establishment of the center a positive step to support women journalists.

She convoyed message of the country’s First Lady, Rula Ghani congratulating the establishment of the center to the women journalists on the advent of March 8, International Women’s Day (MIW.)

“As literacy level is very low in Afghanistan, public minds are yet to accept girls or women as journalists in the society, something needed to be worked on,” she said.

Present in the meeting, Dr. Nasreen Oryakhil, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs also spoke about the role of women journalists in the society and said: “Journalism is a tough task in a country like Afghanistan. Women who are daring such dangerous condition to work in this field, should be supported.”

She said her led ministry was committed to provide job and work opportunity for the Afghan women.

Likewise, Suraya Subhrang, Independent Human Rights Commissioner evaluated women situation very pitiable and said women journalists have sacrificed much in helping people access to information.

“Several files related to women, including female journalists are registered with the Independent Human Rights Commission,” she said.

Presidential Spokesman, Shah Hussain Murtazavi said journalists including men and women were facing difficulties and both should equally be supported and paid enough attention.

He asked great audio-visual and print media to provide women journalists with opportunity in the higher posts to utilize their own visions for meeting their problems that were in hidden for years and centuries.

Meanwhile, in his brief remark, Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, ex-Information and Culture Minister congratulated establishment of the center and called it in the interest of women journalists.

Dr. Najib Sharifi, head of Committee for Journalist Safety called security of journalists very important and said no report was more valuable than a reporter’s life and that all facts and figures yet to be implemented should be reported.

He asked the center for practical hard work in the area of women journalists’ professionalization.

Head of Wolesi Jirga’s Women Affairs Committee, Fauzia Kofi wished success for the stakeholders of the institution and said that journalists’ problems were clear and implicitly said: “Who are those who are not aware of their problems?”

“Women, like men are facing problems and lack proper work-area, under the current sensitive condition, but in some provinces, only being woman is a crime. So to work as a woman journalist is very problematic,” Kofi regretted.

She said personal behavior and double standard policy against women are strongly available even in the work-area and women journalists are the first victim to be fired from work, due to lack of budget, so they need enough support.

Head of Women Affairs Committee of the House of People asked the ministry of information and culture to do more in protection of female journalists and addressing journalists’ complaints, under the mass media law.

Women journalists were those who have broken social taboo to appear in the society, in the wake of oppositions by their families and the society, Kofi concluded.

Report: CPAWJ

Edit: Fathulbari

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