Taliban orders TV stations to stop airing films featuring actresses


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By Agency Report

The Taliban on Sunday ordered television channels in Afghanistan to stop airing soap operas featuring women artists.

It also ordered that female journalists must wear hijabs in accordance with the group’s interpretation of Islamic law or Sharia while appearing on air.

The Taliban gave the orders as part of a new eight-point set of guidelines issued by the Taliban Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or moral police.

Additionally, the new policy prevents television stations from showing men who are considered indecently exposed or not covered from chest to knees.

According to the ministry, the directives are aimed at countering propagation of “immorality” and airing of videos that “are against the principles of Sharia and Afghan values.”

It urged representatives of television networks in Kabul to adhere to the guidelines during broadcast hours.

“Foreign and locally produced movies that promote foreign culture and traditions in Afghanistan and promote immorality should not be broadcast,” it said.

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The directive also prohibits airing satirical shows that “insult” or undermine the “dignity” of individuals.

Over the past 20 years, Afghan television channels offered a wide range of programmes — from an ”American Idol” style singing competition to music videos, along with several Turkish and Indian soap operas.

When the Islamists previously ruled from 1996 to 2001, there was no Afghan media to speak of — they banned television, movies, and most other forms of entertainment, deeming it immoral.

People caught watching television faced punishment, including having their set smashed. Ownership of a video player could lead to public lashing.

There was only one radio station, Voice of Sharia, that broadcasts propaganda and Islamic programming.

However, since their return to power in mid-August, the Taliban have repeatedly pledged to protect women’s rights in accordance with Islamic law, although Afghan girls are still barred from returning to secondary school in most provinces.


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