October, 07, 2018
KABUL – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) office in Afghanistan marked the international day of access to information Monday in Kabul.
Patricia McPhillips, the organization’s country director in Afghanistan, called the approval of access to information law, a big achievement for the Afghan government.
She congratulated this achievement to the government and people of Afghanistan, saying that it was pleasing that Kabul supported 17 Sustainable Development Goals that its 16th goal was right of access to information. She emphasized that the law’s approval was the biggest success of the goal.
Sayed Aqa Hossain Fazel Sangcharaki, deputy information and culture minister for publication affairs, said that they managed to assess 56 government departments that 80 per cent of them have special sources for giving information, but they lack capacity of giving information.
He said that lack of a special unit in these sources and unawareness about the information law impedes the implementation of the right of access to information. Implementation of the law needs particular mechanism about giving information.
Mostafa Mastoor, minister of economy, said speedy media growth had caused people’s more demands to information access. He called on the media outlets to refrain from giving information with partiality to their customers, specifically in the current situation that the country is under complete shadow of politics and people need accurate information.
Sayed Ekram Afzali, head of information access monitoring commission, said: “Development is for the people, and this will be meaningless if there is no access to information. Sustainable and meaningful development should include people to the process. People should not be ignored in the development process.”
According to Afzali, the development projects had been implemented unilaterally by the ministries and non-governmental as well as international organizations in the past 14 years. Because of this, there were no transparency and quality in the projects as the people could not monitor and did not know about that, he added.
He urged people should be aware of the development projects and help for their effective and transparent implementation. Information is not just limited to the media and civil society, people have also the right of awareness, according to Afzali.
The Sustainable Development Goals cover struggle poverty and starvation, access to healthcare services, education with high quality, gender equality, access to portable water and cheap energy, and job and employment. The United Nations member countries should assure they would reach these goals by 2030.
Reporting by: Beheshta Ayoubi
Editing by: Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists