Apr 24, 2008

TV stations under government pressure

By Sanjar

Minister of information and culture, Abdul Kareem Khuram, has ordered several private TV stations to stop broadcasting popular soap operas that allegedly contains ‘offensive’ scenes. The minister went further by describing offensive as being "un-Islamic". Apparently the ministry reached the decision under pressure from the parliament and clerics.

The Soap Operas are very popular television programs and if any form of formal audience rating was possible in Afghanistan I have no doubt the shows would rate the highest. The serials provide vital revenue for TV stations. The soap operas are dubbed into Pashto and Farsi. Banning the program could be a financial blow to TV stations and the end of the young dubbing sector.

The minister of information warned of sever action against TV station neglecting the decision but did not clarify what. In a freedom liking system the law outlines all sanction in the interest of ensuring consistency and avoiding arbitrary action by those in power. The media law has envisaged no disciplinary measures in this case because the action of the minister is not in the law.

the Parliament has also passed a resolution seeking to bar not the soaps but any TV programme from showing dancing and other practices that are "un-Islamic".

The parliament is a house built by secular west to host radical muslims. This resolution was passed two months after the one which supported the death sentence for Parwez Kambakhsh, a journalist, for downloading an article criticising Islam's stance on women's rights.

The latest action of the parliament and the government once again shows who run the country under the shadow of secular western military. The Afghans can’t do anything which is not endorsed by these fundamentalists. When Islam was introduced there was no TV so we can’t know what islam says about TV and its professional conduct, but now we have to deal with a situation under a bunch of thugs and criminals that anything which has not been covered by Islam becomes the domain of their authority.

The fundamentalist Afghan officials take advantage of western financial assistance and their military protection. They don’t mind to be protected from the ruthless hand of Taliban by westerners. They live in modern buildings and drive in convoys which are paid by western tax payer money but their black moral framework has not changed.

The fundamentalist for decades enforced a restrictive system where basic human curiosity has been seriously curtailed. Any new step by an Afghan is rejected in their view on the ground that its unfamiliar and not in line with Islam. The islam of fundamentalists is a static faith; their faith will never accept innovative television programs because television is a threat to their authority and better television is even serious threat.

Why are we silent, and by ‘we’ I mean all of us: people of Afghanistan, millions of Afghans watch these soap operas and they love it. they need to stand up for something they like and challenge the authority of the criminal fundamentalists. We know that these criminals should be put behind bars not on a chair to govern our lives again. Their actions once again remind us that they never went through a period of self-reflection after their atrocities. The fundamentalists should not dictate to the entire Afghan society the rule of the game, they have had enough control. The rule of law should replace the arbitrary interpretation of their Islam.

These fundamentalists call for the murder of an innocent person for reading a piece and we know that not only democratic society but any humane society condemns the murder of a person for freedom of thought.

But I know that the mass (all and any Afghan) will remain quiet because We are a society caught in a mental cramp of cognitive dissonance, and we will be for a long time. The whole society fall victim to this type of Islam. Nobody can raise their voice because that would be considered unislamic, the mantra of the criminal fundamentalists has worked so well that Afghans are fearful of natural pursuit of life and watching what makes them happy.