Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, October 21st, 2018

3 May, the World Press Freedom Day

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." Under this article, the United Nations General Assembly declared 3 May as the World Press Freedom Day.

Amongst several international organizations working to strengthen freedom of expression worldwide, UNESCO, as the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression, has performed well to support freedom of opinion and expression in the hostile countries to exercise the basic human right. In the course of few recent decades, the world has been able to see a rapid improvement in expansion and exercise of human rights, including freedom of expression. It has come because of a speedy move by many nations in the world to embrace democracy, ensure human dignity and secure freedom of expression. With the new media technology being made accessible to more people in more ways, citizens enjoy greater opportunities to express their opinions and exchange information. However, huge challenges remain on the way to universally and ideally practice freedom of expression.

The post-conflict countries such as Afghanistan are more in need of international backing to promote this essential human right and thus help the nascent democracy survive. In Afghanistan, the 3 May occasion is celebrated by media organizations, press clubs, civil society and the government, a move that indicates the country's strong tendency to build on the achievements made so far. With the conflict between state and liberty lasting from old days in human history, Afghanistan remains no exception.

However, the Afghan government declares being committed to respect freedom of the press. Afghanistan has had appreciable records on freedom of the press in the very short age of constitutionalism but experienced a period of full silence of media following unwelcomed political developments in the country. Nonetheless, under the new constitution, media in Afghanistan enjoys a relatively suitable environment for functioning. The improvements were made possible following the international community's strong presence in the country and thus will remain highly fragile unless it is sufficiently institutionalized through dominant public custom and government practices. Insecurity, self-censorship, the weak rule of law, selective approach to freedom of expression by some government officials, insufficient capacity and lack of a professional approach towards media have made freedom of expression highly susceptible to vulnerability.