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Karzai Wants Media to Promote Unity

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KABUL – President Hamid Karzai on Saturday cautioned media outlets against harming the core national interests in their coverage of protests against Afghanistan’s neighbours. Nine days ago, hundreds of Kabul residents took to the streets and torched the portraits of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as some Afghan officials.

While burning the neighbouring country’s flag to protest its meddling in Afghanistan, the demonstrators chanted death to Iran and its agents within the government and parliament in Kabul. Addressing an event marking World Environment Day here on Saturday, Karzai said setting fire to portraits of neighbouring countries’ leaders was wrong. “We are a respectable nation. No nation should be slighted from our soil.”

The Afghans to keep intact their ancient tradition of hospitality and respecting guests, he stressed, asking TV channels to refrain from screening repeatedly such demonstrations. “Such an act on the part of media is against the national interest.” He hastened to explain news organisations could subject the government, including the president, to constructive criticism, but they should eschew damaging the country’s image.

“American and British media, saying all sorts of things about outsiders, have been working consistently to strengthen their national unity. I hope our media and political parties will act likewise to safeguard their national unity,” the president added. Over the past decade, he said, Afghanistan had been home to all Afghans. Leaders of Khalq, Parcham (communist groups) and Taliban were members of the sitting parliament, strengthening national unity, Karzai concluded. (PAN)

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