Afghan ban on Pakistani newspapers
By: EHSAN MEHMOOD KHAN
AFGHAN spokesperson Sayed Ihsanuddin Taheri recently said: “The government has decided to ban all Pakistani newspapers in Afghanistan.” He added that newspapers had been banned because “in recent months Pakistani newspapers have started an anti-Afghan government campaign, especially in eastern provinces”.
He also said: “The newspapers print Taliban propaganda, question the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and run an anti-government campaign.” Pakistani newspapers are finding space in Afghanistan’s information domain, as few newspapers are published there and that too in small numbers.
Most Afghans are part of the millions of refugees living in Pakistan for decades, and may like to read Pakistani newspapers. So how can the Afghan government block the access of Pakistani newspapers to Afghans?
According to internetworldstats.com, there are over 1.25 million Internet users in Afghanistan, making it 4.2 per cent of the population. Most of them are using social media, besides reading online newspapers and magazines published around the world.
People who are online make the bulk of Afghan newspaper readership. An official ban would prompt them to surf Pakistan’s media web in keeping with human nature.
Therefore, the ban on Pakistani newspapers by the Afghan government is neither justifiable nor practicable.