25 May 2020

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Tuesday May 12, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Nineteen-year-old Robaba Mohammadi was born with a condition that has left her unable to walk or use her hands. The majority of her early life she would spend at home, unable to even attend school due to a lack of infrastructure or facilities for disabled people in Afghanistan.
But the many days of loneliness drove her to find her passion. The first time Mohammadi picked up a pencil, she used her foot, but she found that rather difficult. With the encouragement of her father, she tried using her mouth to learn how to paint. She says she had given up so many times in her early attempts to draw.
But she kept practicing, for hours every day, until she could draw a straight line and continued to learn from an art book given to her by a friend.
Her detailed charcoal drawings of people, objects, animals and pencil flowers gradually earned her fame by the age of 16.
Mohammadi has now launched her own arts center to help train other aspiring artists with disabilities.
"One of my dreams was to have my own gallery to teach my students and now that dream has come true with the help of my family," she said.
"There are about 40 students in the morning and in the afternoon classes. It is because we are new and things are just getting started. I mean it has been very difficult for me to start from scratch and get to this position."
Mohammadi has created about 200 paintings in the last five years, focusing mainly on topics such as feminism in Afghanistan and challenges faced by women.
Today, Mohammadi uses oil paints to portray the streets in Afghanistan and the country's people. She also paints people with disabilities in bold colors and often in landscapes.
Her work is now sold and exhibited internationally, which helps provide the funds needed to keep her art center open.
She also hopes to create a literacy course for people with disabilities who, like her, have been unable to attend school.

Tuesday May 12, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Chris Corsten, a native of Marinette, Wisconsin has just published his book “3,000 Days in Afghanistan” detailing his experience in Afghanistan over a ten-year period.
If you ever wondered just what in the world we have been doing in Afghanistan for the last 20 years, this book will help answer many of those questions.
Chris chronicles his experience as a U.S. Army Civil Affairs officer, trying to win the hearts and minds of local Afghans on the ground. Then sheds his uniform to become a civilian counternarcotics advisor, fighting against narcotics in the world’s largest opium and heroin-producing country. Later he becomes the senior program manager for U.S.-funded humanitarian aid projects, working to help build economic prosperity in one of the world’s most impoverished countries.
See Afghanistan and its people through the successes and failures that Chris experienced throughout his journey, and you may find a better appreciation of how dangerous and challenging the experiment in Afghanistan has been.
The book was released on Amazon.com on May 6th, 2020 and on May 8th, 2020 it became a #1 New Release in two categories and a Top 10 Best Seller in one category. It was described by one reader as “fun, unapologetic, and an easy read” and has received several 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Monday, May 4, 2020
Kabul (BNA) On the advent of World Press Freedom Day, the United Nations (UN) on Sunday called for media preservation as part of any peace process in Afghanistan. “All parties in any peace negotiations must uphold all fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom of expression,” a statement quoting the UN secretary-general’s special representative Doborah Lyons said.
The statement said nothing should be allowed to threaten the critical advances in press freedoms in Afghanistan and that the United Nations was actively engaged in supporting independent media in Afghanistan. "Our human rights colleagues track crimes against media that are related to the armed conflict,” the statement added.
It went on as saying that the UN family in Afghanistan promoted the protection of journalists and battling impunity to bring perpetrators to justice.
The diplomat assured that they will do all in their power to support free media, so all journalists -- Afghan media and foreign correspondents alike -- can operate without fear of being harassed, intimidated or attacked. "As we celebrate the successes of the Afghan press corps on World Press Freedom Day, we must remember the journalists who have lost their lives while pursuing their noble objectives in Afghanistan. Others have suffered intimidation and beatings while carrying out their duties."
Hate speech, including incitement to violence and other forms of this poisonous activity, could not be allowed to turn Afghan against Afghan, harm peace efforts or to damage sensitive political processes, Lyons stressed. According to the statement, hate speech undermined social cohesion and eroded shared values, setting back the cause of stability and human dignity. "
The media must stand up against hate speech, and we all must consider what we can do to safeguard journalists and to recognize our collective obligations to take practical steps to address those forces that menace the media, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
." As COVID-19 threatens life in Afghanistan and around the world, Lyons said, the importance of the media providing accurate and fact-based information could not be overstated. "
Harmful health advice has proliferated, with falsehoods filling the airwaves and conspiracy theories infecting the Internet. I salute the journalists who are fact-checking misleading stories, as the infection of misinformation puts lives at risk."

Monday May 4, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The Ministry of Information and Culture congratulated the World Press Freedom Day to all media workers in the country, saying UN General Assembly has declared May 3rd as World Press Freedom Day, and this day is celebrated both nationally and globally.
“The main purpose of celebrating World Press Freedom Day is to reaffirm and strengthen the commitment of governments and nations on this day to the freedom of the press as well as media needed to reiterates their commitments for providing accurate, unbiased and reliable information to the public,” a statement from the ministry said.
Freedom of the press is guaranteed in the Afghan constitution, the media law and other applicable laws.
If we are to discuss our achievements over the past nineteen years, with no doubt, media development, the strengthening and institutionalization of freedom of expression, and the right to access information are among our most important achievements,” the ministry added.
The Ministry of Information and Culture is renewing its strong and unwavering commitment to protect and safeguard this great achievement and to strengthen and institutionalize it further, the statement said.
“This year, we celebrate the day at the time that outbreak of the coronavirus threatens human life and continues to cause many social, cultural and economic problems.
In such a difficult and tense situation, people need accurate and reliable information. We also need to make the peace process a success, and that requires careful information,” the ministry further said. According to the ministry, it was the responsibility of the media to provide accurate and unbiased information to the public at this critical juncture, and not to allow information gaps to be created.
The Ministry of Information and Culture congratulates all journalists and other media workers on World Press Freedom Day and wishes them all the best of luck,” the statement concluded.

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