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Karzai vows to defend freedom of speech

22 February, 2013

KABUL: President Hamid Karzai, hailing the freedom of speech as a massive achievement, on Thursday called for preserving this liberty and implementing it in all media outlets across the country.

In his fortnightly radio address to the nation, the president promised that efforts at undermining the freedom of expression would be brooked under no circumstance.

The constitutionally-guaranteed liberty must be exercised with a high sense of responsibility to protect core national interests, the president stressed in his speech, part of World Radio Day that was marked in the country last week.

He noted with pleasure the march of nascent media toward strength, reminding news organisation leaders of their duty to promote unity, peace and stability in the country.

Karzai urged media professionals to play an effective role in advancing the cause of education, combating violence against women, defending their rights and educating the masses on the need for vaccinating children.

The president called radio an efficient source of information, enlightening minds and highlighting day-today problems of the masses. Despite TVís expanding sweep and reach, radio retained its influence and relevance in rural and urban areas, he said.

Just like electronic and print media, he observed, radio stations had boomed at unprecedented clip across Afghanistan over the past 11 years. The Afghans were benefitting from around 150 radio stations, currently on the air in their country, Karzai concluded.

End.

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