Press Banned on Reporting Violence, and a Citizen Reporting Tool for Afghan Elections

Posted by PrabhasPokharel on Aug 19, 2009

Af the Afghani elections are coming up this week, there are a projects focusing on the election and citizen media coverage that we like to note.

First, as Taliban has intensified violence and has threatened to disrupt the elections and "kill those who vote," the Afghani government has called for reporters to avoid coverage of violence  so that Afghanis aren't scared away from polling stations. Meanwhile, associations such as the Independent Journalist Association of Afghanistan have refused to take the order and has promised to continue reporting. The ban on reporting is phrased as a "request" in English, and as "strictly forbidden" in Dari (good synopsis of ban and violence here).

Meanwhile, the open source tool Ushahidi is being used in a project called Alive in Afghanistan to allow ordinary citizens and the press to report incidents during the voting process. The project has partnered with Pajhwok Afghan News to provide reports from the press and reports from citizens via SMS, email and the web. The project concedes that only a connected elite will be able to communicate to the project. With the press ban on coverage of violence it will be interesting to see how reporting on Ushahidi evolves as the election heats up tomorrow.

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