Traffic restrictions introduced for next April’s elections in Afghanistan will prevent reporters from covering the election effectively, local journalists warn.
News that vehicles will be barred from anywhere near polling stations during a debate on the role of media, hosted by IWPR at the Kahkashan-e Sharq university in the western Herat province.
Representatives of local media outlets said it would be harder to provide credible election reporting unless the authorities lifted the restrictions.
Wali Mohammad Hadid, deputy director of the Afghan Journalist Support Centre, said the press had a duty to provide accurate, timely information on election day, but he feared this would be obstructed by the vehicle ban.
"The Independent Election Commission needs to ensure that security and election officials are instructed to give reporters all the information they need on election day,” he said. "Members of the public also need to be effective in reporting any electoral violations they witness."
Harun Hakimi is an IWPR-trained reporter in Herat province.
This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.