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A Taliban ministry has instructed television networks to stop airing shows deemed immoral by the ultra-conservative outfit. They claim that the directions are not mandatory, but rather “religious guidelines.”
Taliban authorities released a set of “religious instructions” on Sunday, among which was a request that Afghanistan’s television networks refrain from broadcasting soap operas or dramas starring female actresses, as well as other religiously orthodox messages.
The directive, which was issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, was the first of its sort to be issued to the country’s media networks in over a decade.
According to the government, films or television shows that are in opposition to Islamic or Afghan principles should be banned. Included in this category is any media that portrays the Prophet Muhammad or other renowned people.
In addition, the standards state that women journalists who appear on television should cover their faces with a headscarf. Additionally, the depiction of male bodies, especially unclothed torsos, was ruled unsuitable by the Ministry of Education.
In an interview with AFP, Ministry of Interior spokesman Hakif Mohajir said that the guidelines were not rules but rather “religious guidelines.” To the Spanish news agency EFE, a second Taliban representative stated that the criteria were not mandatory, but simply suggestions to be kept in mind while transmitting messages from Afghanistan.
The Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in August, twenty years after the United States-led coalition forced them out. During their previous tenure in power, they banned television and cinema, as well as the majority of other forms of media.
The only media outlet that was permitted to transmit was the Voice of Sharia radio channel, which disseminated Islamist propaganda.
As a result of the succeeding two decades of relative press freedom, various domestic television networks were established, broadcasting a variety of shows including televised singing competitions and imported soap operas from Turkey and India, among other things.
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