March 2nd, 2010
07:31 AM ET

Afghanistan bans media from covering militant attacks live

 KABUL, Afghanistan - The Afghan government has banned news organizations from covering militant attacks while they are occurring, saying media outlets unknowingly help the Taliban through such broadcasts.  The National Directorate of Security issued the ban Monday. It prevents news organizations from reporting from the site of an attack until security forces secure the area and issue a green light. 

The ban will prevent a repeat of incidents such as Friday's deadly blasts in the Afghan capital (seen in photo above), which killed at least 17 people.  The attack took place near Safi Landmark Hotel in the neighborhood of Shahr-E-Naw. It started with a suicide car bomb and suicide bombers with explosive-laden vests, followed by a second large explosion. 

News crews rolled their cameras as security forces responded.  The government says such live coverage helps the Taliban by showing how the government coordinates its response. 

Rights groups see the ban as a gradual encroachment on openness by President Hamid Karzai's administration.  

"You have to link it to the bigger issue in Afghanistan, and that is the Karzai government's increasingly unilateral decisions," said Ajmal Samadi of the non-governmental Afghanistan Rights Monitor. "A number of issues in the
past few days are of concern to human rights activists."

Samadi pointed to a bill that would provide immunity from prosecution for all crimes committed during the Afghan conflict in exchange for pledges of support from the participants. 

Most Afghans want to see the major transgressors prosecuted, rights groups say. 

Karzai also issued a decree that gives him the authority to appoint members to the electoral complaint committee, which was once an independent entity. 

The committee is charged with investigating claims of fraud during the elections. Making its members report to Karzai compromises its objectivity, rights organizations say.  
 
- CNN's Matiullah Mati and Saeed Ahmed contributed to this report.


Filed under: Kabul attacks • Karzai • Life and Culture • Taliban
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Major Shelia Jenkins

    I believe that the media should be allowed to cover certain activities on the frontline; however, I also believe that covering every single detail of how the government or military respond to an incident once it has occurred gives the enemy too much detail on what actions the first responders are taking, and how they coordinate their efforts. Once these things are compromised it gives the enemy exclusive details that should not be broadcast to the entire world. I am all for the media getting information out, but they must also use good judgment and discretion on what images they transmit. Does anyone in the media every stop to think that a decision to transmit information could compromise the military or key officials? Does any news network ever consider that their actions could result in the deaths of our troops? The media must be held to a higher standard.

    Major Shelia Jenkins
    CGSC (ILE)
    SG 5D

    March 9, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Capt Pandit

    Media should themselves workout, how to go about reporting this war against insurgents in Afghanistan.
    Acts of violence by the militants should be totally blacked out and action of Allied Forces only be reported. You will see , this will demoralise the rank and file of militants. Their communication should be located and monitored to help Allied forces in planning actions against the insurgents.
    There are many such details which can not be mentioned here. In any case, the Military Commanders know all these things and am sure can plan things on these lines.
    God Bless the soldiers, who are fighting these ( real infidels ) , they are the ones who are UNISLAMIC in all sense. JAI HO

    March 5, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Iveeno

    Go, Larry K, go! Ever seen Al-Jazirra broadcasting from the militants side of things during a battle? I haven't. Things to ponder...

    March 4, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jackie

    Zak, Paul, and Mark Rodgers,
    You hit the nail on the head. I am also a combat veteran, and I would shoot a journalist in combat action if I saw one. They give out more information to the enemy than anyone I know of. I don't know what happened to the PIO's in the service, but they aren't doing their job, or they're afraid to get close to a combat zone. But, like you said, they have the right to report on anything, but only after the area is secure, and they take their pictures in areas that can't be readily identified by the enemy.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Shelia J

    I believe that the media should be allowed to cover certain activities on the frontline; however, I also believe that covering every single detail of how the government or military respond to an incident once it has occurred gives the enemy too much detail on what actions the first responders are taking, and how they coordinate their efforts. Once these things are compromised it gives the enemy exclusive details that should not be broadcast to the entire world. I am all for the media getting information out, but they must also use good judgment and discretion on what images they transmit. Does anyone in the media every stop to think that a decision to transmit information could compromise the military or key officials? Does any news network ever consider that their actions could result in the deaths of our troops? The media must be held to a higher standard.

    March 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Stephanie K.

    I truly agree with the ban of media coverage in militant attacks. This ban is indeed long over do. Bottom line; is a few seconds of explicit coverage worth the endangerment of our Soldier? Where is the respect for those who lost their lives during the conflict? Does anyone really want to view such horrfic events, but most importantly what message is it sending to the public? The media should have certain policies in place that pertain to the ethics and moral discretion of certain coverage. How would you fell if you saw the death of a loved one broadcasted all over public television?

    March 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tammy

    All the media does for the militants is give them 15 sec of fame we need to stop giving them that time on the air. The more they get the more damage they do. Wake up America it's war not a TV sitcom. Everything that happens over there is not are right to know even though Americans think it is. Let our military do there job without the cameras rolling.

    March 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark Rogers

    Yes....Abdulameer,
    Those terrorist attacks by your so called "religious Moslems in the name of Islam" against civilians who want to live freely, not according to rules thought up by some religious fanatics, bandits, thugs...etc. If you beleive in the fight so much why don't you volunteer to go fight? I would love to see some live combat footage of you running your ass off when some soldiers, Marines, Rangers, SAS, or Afghans civilians are about to tear you a new one.

    March 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. paul

    The media is aiding the enemy whoever they are , they should be shot for treason .

    paul usmc vet

    March 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Don From Atlanta

    Abdulameer,
    Yes militant attacks! From the kind of people that just love to kill. Why are you so surprised? I’ve read some of your other comments. They’re all the same. You’re an actor claiming to be familiar with the Koran. I don’t believe your name is really Abdulameer. I think your some nut case in your 20’s with a chemical imbalance in your brain.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Quin Waterman

    The presence of reporters at the delivery of deceased Soldiers is at the discretion of the family. As to the displaying of the number of dead – maybe because Iraq was his war? The deaths are certainly reported on.

    March 3, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Zak

    This is not a war against Islam! This is a war against thugs that distort the teachings of Islam to serve their own purposes. Most of the Taliban aren't in this for religion but for a pay check. Let us not forget that we always have the option of fighting our enemies on U.S. soil. I wonder how battling the enemies of the U.S. in shopping malls and schools in America would change the opinions of the bloggers here. I for one choose to take the fight to them. Muslim, Christian, or whatever doesn't matter.. The media should realize that they present visual intelligence whether they intend to or not.

    March 3, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Trent

    daniel? 1.obama is a leftwing democrat
    2. theyre not banning coverage of the attacks; theyre banning covering the immediate response to these attacks. If you see how the govt. responds than you are better able to hinder such responses.
    3. Im guessing regardess of what the article read you would leave the same hateful comment

    March 3, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Naqeeb

    AS an Afghan citisen i want to comment that it is NOT fair becuase when i was in Afghanistan i was banned to go interview the miltants and taking the western journalists to the war zone. I know this that the journalists are the only people who can show the reality to the people around the world, and tell the people that this is what happening and so on. Then the people can easily judge the both sides of the story. I think they should let the media to cover the story and give them much scurity.

    March 3, 2010 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dale Blaine

    I also have a son, who is a Marine who is in Marjah. The news media does not need to be reporting live combat coverage. They give away the element of surprise and lets everyone know where you are and when you are arriving. The news media needs to be left out until the area has been secured and then allowed in to report. When they set up to video all the Taliban has to do is watch CNN and then wait and watch and here we come walking in like ducks on the pond.

    March 3, 2010 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  16. Capt Pandit

    The ban on live coverage of militant attacks is a step in the right direction. The live coverage helps militants to study the response of security forces to such attacks and helps them to plan their future attacks in more effective manner.
    The Karzai Govt must report such incidents/attacks, to its own people, so that people know the wrong actions of these enemies of the people.
    Media should be refrained from glorifying such condemnable actions of these militants. Media also should not interview the militants at any level and should not even show their pictures. Thus the media will be doing a service to the humanity. The media should adhere to such self imposed conduct-code. I appeal to all the world media to workout such ethics among themselves and go ahead with their job in right Ernest.
    My personal regards to all the people associated with media world over.
    God bless you all

    March 3, 2010 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  17. Larry K

    Could it be because they don't want the Enemy know where They are fighting from??? Why don't They put it on TV when They do anything???

    March 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Daniel

    I guess the right-wing politicians in both Kabul and Washington don't want the rest of us to know just how their slimy war on Islam isn't.These people hope to,by this action,keep this dispicable war politically popular.If they can make it look like they're succeesful in so-called "pacifying" Kabul through their control of the news media,they figure they can control public opinion and that pleases President Obama very much.

    March 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Ronda

    This is a very difficult subject for me, as my son, a Marine, has now been sent to Marjah. I have kept tabs on the war via this blog. I am torn on what we should and shouldn't show on the news. I know I was extremely excited when I thought I saw my son on one of your videos. Howvever, it was not in a combat situation. I do not want to see my son being shot at, or having to shoot at someone. I think this would be too overwhelming as a parent. I know I have seen video of combat situations, and while I think that people need to relize that this is a war, and it is harsh, we shouldn't show logistics, and give away information on how we fight. I do feel we need to report more on what our men and women are going through who are deployed, and less on the "hollywood" stories, as these men and women truely are our heros.

    March 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  20. montemark

    I was wondering that during the Bush administration the headlines on CNN ALWAYS had the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and afganistan. Now that obama is the president you NEVER see the reporting on deaths in the wars. Also during the Bush years, bush banned the media from video taping the caskets of dead soldiers coming home. Obama lifted that ban and now there are no reporters trying to report on that. WHY? Why can't the CNN report fairly?

    March 2, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  21. Abdulameer

    "militant attacks"????

    Oh, do you mean attacks by religious Moslems in the name of Islam? In the name of the Koran, Muhammad and Sharia law?

    March 2, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  22. William T. Taylor

    It amazes me why the US Military does not stop live combat coverage.....there are many reasons to not do this......it is not in the US nor our Soldiers best interest to do so.......if this needs to be explained i would just be wasting time!

    March 2, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |