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Article 34 of the new constitution, passed in January 2004, provides for freedom of the press and of expression.
The May 2004 press law guarantees the right of citizens to obtain information and prohibits censorship.
In the country's underdeveloped economic environment, the majority of media outlets remain dependent on the state, political parties, or international donors for financial support.
However, in September 2004 the first independent radio station supported entirely by private sector funds was inaugurated in Ghazni province.
National and local governments continue to own or control several dozen newspapers and almost all of the electronic media, and reporting at these news outlets is generally balanced.
International radio broadcasts in Dari or Pashto, such the BBC, VOA, Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Afghanistan, remain a key source of information for many Afghans.
Media diversity and freedom is markedly higher in Kabul, and some warlords display limited tolerance for independent media in the areas under their control.
A number of journalists were threatened or harassed by government ministers, politicians, and others in positions of power as a result of their reporting.
In March, the Tirana-based television station Alsat broadcast a gaffe in which Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj predicted further regional border changes if Kosovo were partitioned between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
Many independent media outlets are hampered by a lack of revenue.
Publishers and media owners tend to dictate editorial policy based on political and economic affiliations, which, together with the employment insecurity journalists face, nurtures a culture of self-censorship.
The pact, which capped more than two years of negotiations, was considered a key milestone on the path to EU membership, and EU officials said media freedom would be among their priorities as they pressed Albania to make additional structural improvements.
The countrys parliament-appointed broadcast regulator, the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT), continued to face accusations of political influence and incompetence.
Access to the Internet and to satellite TV dishes remains largely unrestricted.