Afghanistan calls for media blackout on polling day | world | Hindustan Times
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Afghanistan calls for media blackout on polling day

The Afghan government on Tuesday appealed for an Afghan and international media blackout on reporting extremist attacks during this week’s elections, in a bid to maximise voter turnout.

world Updated: Aug 18, 2009 20:15 IST

The Afghan government on Tuesday appealed for an Afghan and international media blackout on reporting extremist attacks during this week’s elections, in a bid to maximise voter turnout.

“All domestic and international media agencies are requested to refrain from broadcasting any incident of violence during the election process from 6 am to 8 pm on 20 August,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement said the country’s national security council made the request “in view of the need to ensure the wide participation of the Afghan people... and prevent any election-related terroristic,” said the statement in English.

Taliban insurgents hae escalated threats to derail the elections, warning people not to vote and thereby make themselves a victim of attacks.

A suicide attack targeting a NATO convoy in the capital Kabul on Tuesday killed more than seven people, including two UN staffers and an unknown number of NATO soldiers. Over 50 Afghans were wounded, officials said.

There are fears that poor turnout, because of insecurity, could call into question the legitimacy of the polls.

There are around 300,000 Afghan and NATO- and US-led troops in Afghanistan mobilised in a bid to secure voting.

Dozens of extra foreign journalists have poured into Afghanistan in order to help cover the elections, which mark the second time in history that Afghans will elect a president.