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Friday, June 21, 2024

Taliban shuts down female-run Afghan radio station for ‘playing music’

A women-run radio station in northeastern Afghanistan has been closed to play music during the holy month of Ramadan, a Taliban official said.

Sadai Banowan, a woman’s voice in Dari, is the only women-run radio station in Afghanistan and was founded 10 years ago. There are eight employees, six of them women.

Moezuddin Ahmadi, director of information and culture in Badakhshan province, said the channel had repeatedly “violated the laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate” by broadcasting songs and music during Ramadan and was shut down because of the violation.

“If this radio station accepts the policies of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and guarantees that nothing like this will happen again, we will allow it to operate again,” Ahmadi said.

Station manager Najiya Sorosh has denied wrongdoing, saying the shutdown was unnecessary and calling it a conspiracy. The Taliban “told us that you are broadcasting music. We don’t broadcast any music,” he said.

Soros said that on Thursday at 11:40 a.m. (7:10 GMT), officials from the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Directorate of Vice and Vice arrived at the station and sealed it off.

He said station officials had contacted the Vice and Benevolence Directorate, but officials there said they had no further information about the closure.

Many journalists lost their jobs after the Taliban took power in August 2021. According to the Afghanistan Association of Independent Journalists, media outlets have been shut down due to a lack of funds or because their employees left the country.

Local Afghan journalists who refused to follow Taliban policies were arrested, and some reported ill-treatment and torture after their release.

The Taliban exclude women from most forms of work and education beyond sixth grade, including university. There is no official music ban.

During their previous rule in the late 1990s, the Taliban banned most of the country’s television, radio, and newspaper channels.

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