Law students from across Afghanistan passionately argued legal positions today. They presented on freedom of expression, limits on government control of the media and the public right to know at the close of the first annual Afghanistan Media Development and Empowerment Project (AMDEP) Media Law Moot Court Competition.
As Afghanistan’s lawyers and the media strive towards the development and adherence to international practice and standards of media law, this event provided the first platform for the next generation of Afghan lawyers to explore the application of media laws and regulations within a simulated court setting. Arguing their cases in Pashto and Dari, teams from the Alberony, Balkh, Herat, Kabul and Nangarhar Universities constructed persuasive arguments for a fictitious case.
Mohammad Musa Enayat, a Kabul University law student who was also awarded the overall best individual oralist award, stated, “When I heard about the Moot Court, I was hesitant to participate…but the program gave me confidence that I can be a good lawyer in the future and I can deal with any case when I finish my studies.”
After two days of preliminary rounds, Kabul University faced off against Herat University in the final round of the competition at the Kabul Appeals Court.
Speaking at the close of the event, the 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.
Also in attendance were Jed Barton, USAID Deputy Mission Director, and Dean Mohammad Mobarez Rashidi, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Information and Culture. They, along with a crowd of spectators witnessed a fierce competition in which Kabul was declared the winner.