Media Law and Policy Development
Through the Afghanistan Media Development and Empowerment Project (AMDEP), a collaborative partnership has been forged between Nai, Internews and the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication to implement a comprehensive Media Law and Policy Program. Spearheaded by the Annenberg School for Communication’s Center for Global Communication Studies, the program works at the university and professional level with lawyers, law students, media managers, and government. This initiative engages Afghan lawyers and the government to raise legal awareness and increase advocacy toward core concepts of media law, media management, and information and communication technology (ICT) law. The program also works with Afghan universities and students to increase educational efforts about media, regulatory and policy issues through practical vehicles such as moot court competitions. This network of academia, lawyers, and government is further empowered and enriched through the sustained efforts of the newly founded Afghanistan Media Defense Lawyers Committee (AMDLC). The objective of the collaborative Media Law and Policy Program is to strengthen rule of law and create a more robust and independent media sector in Afghanistan.
The Afghan Media Defence Lawyers Committee
The Afghanistan Media Defense Lawyers Committee (AMDLC) is a critical legal forum, underneath the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA), whose members are committed to advocating for Afghanistan’s media law, defending the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information, and working with the Afghan government and media sector to defend the legal protection of journalists. By promoting media law and the professional standards and development of media law advocates, AMDLC will serve to improve media defense litigation skills and support the growth of a robust and energetic legal and media sector in Afghanistan. Forty-eight lawyers from around Afghanistan officially established the Afghanistan Media Defense Lawyers Committee (AMDLC) in September 2011 at the headquarters of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) in Kabul. Participating lawyers assembled for two full days to elect an executive board, define a mission, and approve a scope of work for the first year of the newly formed AMDLC. With much enthusiasm, the committee members elected Mohammad Karim Amirzoy of Kabul as president, Mofid Mashal of Kabul as vice president, and Aynuddin Bahoduri of Badakshan as the administrative officer.
If you are interested in joining or contributing to the work of the Afghanistan Media Defense Lawyers Committee (AMDLC), please contact Ainuddin Bahoduriy or Adam Levin.
Moot Court Competition
Teams participating in a Moot Court analyze a legal problem and conduct extensive research on the relevant laws, culminating in written submissions (commonly referred to as Memorials) and the presentation of oral pleadings during the preliminary and final rounds of the competition. Moot Court Competitions allow participants to gain and develop practical legal skill sets, increase their analytic aptitude, build their confidence in public speaking, and interact with academic staff and judges in an environment that is both rewarding and enjoyable. The 2011 Afghanistan Media Development and Empowerment Project (AMDEP) Media Law Moot Court Competition included participants from Alberoony, Balkh, Heart, Kabul, and Nangarhar Universities.
Speaking at the award ceremony of the Moot Court, U.S. Embassy Coordinating Director, Rule of Law and Law Enforcement, Ambassador Hans Klemm, said “journalists in Afghanistan serve as the voice of – and for - the people, while sharing stories of individuals and groups, often at risk of oppression, persecution and even death.” He welcomed the Moot Court as a means to enhance media law protection in Afghanistan while highlighting the line between media and democracy.
If you are a judge, lawyer, or affiliated with an Afghan University and are interested in participating or learning more about our Moot Court Competition, please contact Adam Levin.
Media Law Training
The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania designed a media law curriculum and delivered a training program centered on core concepts of media law, media management law, and telecommunications law in 2011. During the training, qualified Afghan lawyers were exposed to national and international media standards and principles. The curricula was designed in a manner that contributed to interactive training sessions by encouraging discussion and debate though the examination of case studies, exercises, and scenarios. The objective of the curricula was to provide lawyers with the knowledge and legal expertise to serve as a critical resource to journalists, media managers and local government officials within their respective provinces and districts.
The ability of media lawyers to act as intermediaries between government and civil society while promoting legal and regulatory reforms, demonstrate their critical role and contribution to nation-building efforts.
The first training covered the current state of Afghanistan’s media law and publications law; freedom of information and expression; slander; defamation; libel; invasion of privacy; blasphemy; and the interplay between Afghanistan’s constitutional law, criminal law and media law. The Media Management Law training covered topics including: media ownership; public broadcasting; transparency; improving legal protection for journalists; codes of ethics; anti-trust rules; and intellectual property issues. The Telecom Law training covered the current state of Afghanistan’s telecom law; communication regulation and legislation; regulatory structures and regulatory models for communications; network interconnection and access; spectrum management and licensing issues; telecom access in rural and underserved areas; legal-regulatory framework for the internet sector; electronic commerce; data protection and cyber-crime.
For further information about the training or to access materials from the Media Law Training, please contact Adam Levin.
Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute
The annual Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute brings together young scholars and regulators from around the world to discuss important recent trends in technology and its influence on information policy. The objective of the program is to help prepare, motivate, encourage and support students and practitioners who aspire to pursue a career in a media-related field, may it be in academia, business or in policy. Applications are welcomed from students and practitioners working in communications, media, law, policy, regulation, and technology.