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Afghan curbs on live media coverage of Taliban attacks

Site of explosion in Kabul, 26 February
The government says live coverage gives militants a tactical advantage

The Afghan government has banned live media coverage of militant assaults in the country saying that broadcasts could help militants during attacks.

The ban comes days after Taliban militants killed 17 people in a deadly suicide attack in the centre of Kabul.

The government announced a similar ban for election day in August 2009.

This indefinite ban applies to both domestic and international news. Journalists criticised the move saying it amounts to "censorship".

"We see this as direct censorship. This is prevention of reporting and contravenes the constitution," said Rahimullah Samandar, the head of Afghanistan's Independent Journalists' Association.

But a spokesman for Afghanistan's intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, said the ban would be applied under Article 7 of Afghanistan's national security law.

Journalists would only be allowed to film the aftermath of attacks.

Details of how it would work and how the authorities plan to enforce the ban are not yet clear.



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