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‘Stop airing shows with women actors’: Taliban tells Afghan TV channels

The new directive was widely circulated on social media networks. (Source: AFP)

KABUL: The Taliban government has issued a number of instructions for the Afghan media, including directing the country’s television channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring women actors.

The instructions, comprising eight points, were read out by the Minister for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Maulvi Muhammad Khalid Hanafi during a meeting with journalists. Maulvi Hanafi asked the journalists to cooperate with the government to counter what he termed “negative propaganda”.

According to the directives, the Taliban also called on women television journalists to wear Islamic hijabs while presenting their reports. The ministry also asked the channels not to air films or programmes in which the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) or other revered figures are shown.

It called for banning foreign and domestic films that spread foreign culture and traditions in Afghan society and cause immorality. “Comedy and entertainment programmes should not be broadcast in such a way as to cause humiliation and insult. Any drama that is an insult to religious rites or human dignity should not be aired,” the ministry added.

”These are not rules but a religious guideline’,” ministry spokesman Hakif Mohajir told international news agency AFP. The new directive was widely circulated late Sunday on social media networks.

Despite insisting they will rule more moderately this time around, the Taliban have already introduced rules for what women can wear at university, and beaten and harassed several Afghan journalists despite promising to uphold press freedoms.

The Taliban’s guideline for TV networks comes after two decades of explosive growth for independent Afghan media under the Western-backed governments that ruled the country until August 15, when the Taliban regained power.

Dozens of television channels and radio stations were set up with Western assistance and private investment soon after the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

During 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.

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