Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities issued a new ”religious guideline” that called on the country’s television channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas that is featuring women actors.
- In the first such directive to Afghan media issued by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Taliban also called on women television journalists to wear Islamic hijabs while presenting their reports.
- The ministry asked the channels not to air films or programs in which the Prophet Mohammed or other revered figures are shown. It called for banning films or programs that were against Islamic and Afghan values. Ministry spokesman Hakif Mohajir said, ”These are not rules but a religious guideline.”
- 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 have 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 Islamists regained power.
- During the past 20 years, Afghan television channels offered a wide range of programs from an ”American Idol” style singing competition to music videos, along with several Turkish and Indian soap operas.
Moreover, people caught watching television faced punishment, including having their set smashed. Ownership of a video player could lead to a public lashing.