IFJ Condemns Afghan Parliament Resolution to Censor Television Programs

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned a resolution passed by the Afghan Parliament’s lower house that would prohibit television stations from showing dancing and other “un-Islamic” practices on their programs.

“This form of censorship is only going to increase the pressure on Afghan media to present only a certain type of images and we fear this could lead to further self-censorship,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White.

Days after private channel Tolo TV broadcast men and women dancing together on an Afghan awards program, the lower house of Afghanistan's Parliament passed a resolution that would bar television programs from showing dancing and other practices deemed un-Islamic.

The parliamentary resolution passed on Monday said dancers should not be shown on television and un-Islamic scenes should be cut from Indian TV series broadcast in Afghanistan, according to press reports. The resolution is not legally binding and cannot be enforced. It will go before the upper house of Parliament for consideration and would also have to be approved by the president before becoming law.

Tolo, a popular TV station, has been singled out before its content, which is deemed quite liberal by many Afghans.

Many Afghan journalists have been detained or harassed for their reporting, especially reporting that has been critical of the Taliban and warlords.

There have also been reports of journalists being harassed by police, local authorities and armed groups.

“There is a clear danger for media workers in Afghanistan who attempt to do independent reporting,” White said. “While this resolution may not be aimed at journalists, we fear that it could open the door to further legal pressure and illegal attacks on journalists.”

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide