During the last year CSHRN organized a broad- wide dialogue concerning access to information draft law which is a very important on going activity of CSHRN. In order to receive the feed back of ordinary people the CSHRN Bamyan office made survey- interviews with some people in the Bazaar of Bamyan city.
By: Ms. Taeba Khawari and Mr. Ismail Zaki
Mr. Mohammad is one of the unskilled worker in Bamyan city, I asked him in a very simple language about access to information. I explained him what do we mean by access to information and then I looked for his opinion. He explained that access to information plays the role of a light in a dark tunnel; if we do not have this light we are not able to find the exit door easily. For example I have the same problem in my life. I do not know about my future if some body informs me about our government programs or Bamyan city development programs then it is much easier for me to know my role to play.
Liaqat Ali is one of the painter and calligrapher of Bamyan city; we were going to ask him the same question.
It seems he is more clever and smart, he says information plays an important role for each citizens every where in our country. If we had access to information we never experienced three decades of war in Afghanistan. The problem is we do not know about each other culture, ethnic background and national interest. Lack of information created a gap between different cultures in Afghanistan. That is why we became very aggressive against each others. I can imagine if a person does not have access to information he looks like a blind person who does not know what to do.
After having this interview the interviewer decided to go to the owner of the handcraft shop and asked him about access to information. The owner of the shop represents a middle class family of Bamyan. His name is Hasan Ali Rezayee a cloth seller. He says access to information gives us opportunity to understand each other’s sorrow. We also get good and bad news that encourage us to be more realistic in our routine life to know our problems and our state problems. We become more understandable and realistic.
Another person that attracted our attention was Mr. Mohammad Husain a porter in the street of Bamyan. He says that access to information is a very positive element in our life; imagine if I have information about the sources of Bamyan municipality then I can adjust the prices of my routine life compare to the demand of customers and offer of the market. I am a poor man and work physically hard. I am a porter even for me information is very important. I should know what is happening in my province how the leaders of our province are tackling the problems of our province.
Now we are going to ask a richer person his name is Gholam Ali the owner of Antics and precious stones shop he says that if we do not have access to information we will never adjust our business according to the reality of public and private sectors. We should have access to information to natural sources of our country. The information will support the Afghan business sector to function better.
Then we went to another person his name is Mohammad Baqer he is the owner of stationery shop. He says if we have access to information about state and local facilities then my approaches to state become more realistic and respectful. We can serve each other in a much better way. He gives an example saying that if you want to climb to the mountain and you are not aware of where are the wheels then you never find your way to the summit of the mountain. I think information is a supportive element to find your way in a society as a resident of that country so if a person does not have information about state facilities then he will never know how to find the way.
Mr. Mohammad Dad is the owner of CDs and DVDs shop in Bamyan Bazaar. He says that he gets some times information through CDs that he sells and the information he gets changes his life. He says he knows the importance of information as a CD and DVD seller. If I have the proper information about legal business of CDs and DVDs then I can work more legally without any risk.
Said Aqa is shoes seller in Bamyan Bazaar. He says I am very interested in getting information. I need to have a lot of information about legal and illegal business.
Mr. Bashir who is mobile phone seller in Bamyan Bazaar says that access to information helps us to be accountable for the state and state should also accountable to us to me. Access to information creates justice in a society.
The last person that we wanted to interview was Mr. Mohammad Nasir. He is the owner of a food shop. According to him if we have access to information then we realize that what the state is doing for us and what we should do for the state.
Our team conclusion is that Bamyan ordinary people understand the need of access to information law in Afghanistan. We explained them that CSHRN is making draft law for access to information and we told them that CSHRN conduct a number of programs to promote access to information law in Afghanistan. All of the persons we interviewed appreciated the role of CSHRN in fostering access to information culture in Afghanistan.