Taliban Pull Two TV Channels For ‘Violating Islamic Values’

Two Afghan television networks have been removed from the airwaves for “violations against Islamic and national values,” a Taliban government spokesman announced Thursday.

According to rights observers, Taliban officials have been tightening down on media liberties since regaining power in 2021, enforcing an austere vision of Islamist government.

Khubaib Ghufran, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Information and Culture, said the “Barya” and “Noor” TV channels were suspended on Tuesday for violating “journalistic principles”.

“They had programmes creating confusion among the public and their owners are abroad,” he was quoted as saying by AFP. “The media violation commission suspended their operations.”

He went on to say “their owners have even taken stands as opponents” of the government of the Taliban, and that “until their owners come here, and answer the questions posed to them, their operations will be suspended” .

According to the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC), Afghanistan’s media commission has frequently advised “Barya” not to telecast comments made by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a once-powerful warlord and former prime minister, about the Taliban regime.

According to the AFJC, “Noor” received warnings for broadcasting music and uncovered female presenters’ faces.

The “Barya” channel is owned by Hekmatyar’s son Habiburrahman Hekmatyar.

“Barya had religious and national values in mind, not Taliban values,” Habiburrahman Hekmatyar, an expatriate whose father has frequently clashed with Taliban authorities, told social networking site X.

“The only thing you won’t see from us is silence,” he went on to say.

Salahuddin Rabbani, who also lives in exile, owns the “Noor” channel and previously served as Afghanistan’s foreign minister under the US-backed government from 2015 to 2019.

His father, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was Afghanistan’s president in the 1990s until fleeing the country after the Taliban seized control for the first time, ruling from 1996 to 2001.

Burhanuddin Rabbani was slain in 2011 by a bomber dressed as a Taliban peace negotiator and carrying explosives in his turban.

The AFJC stated that the suspension of the two channels “violates the country’s mass media laws and is a blatant attempt to suppress freedom of the press.”

Taliban authorities’ curbs have essentially banned music, and the Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued an order in May 2022 requiring female TV presenters to cover their faces.

Last month, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated that Afghanistan’s media landscape is “suffocated by repressive Taliban directives”.

Many journalists departed Afghanistan, fearing repercussions from their work, as the Taliban’s two-decade insurgency came to an end with the collapse of the foreign-backed government in August 2021.

Many of those who remained have been imprisoned by Taliban forces since their return. According to RSF, two journalists are currently detained in Afghanistan.

Leave a Reply