Afghanistan Forbids Reports on Election Violence

Karzai government says gag will 'control the negative impact of the media'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 10:54 PM CDT
Dahaneh resident Haji Mohammed Yunos puts his thumb print on a registration form.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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(Newser) – The Afghan government ordered journalists to stay silent on any insurgent attacks that may happen during the presidential election Thursday, the Guardian reports. The gag order is necessary in order “to encourage people and raise their morale to come out and vote,” said a spokesman for President Karzai. "This decision will control the negative impact of the media. If something happens, this will prevent them from exaggerating it.”

But the head of the Afghan Independent Journalists Association said reporters would not be cowed into withholding information on possible dangers. The decision “shows the weakness of the government and we condemn such moves to deprive people from accessing news," he said. In the latest in a string of terror attacks, a suicide bomber killed eight and wounded 50 in Kabul yesterday.