The BBC’s news bulletins in Pashto, Persian and Uzbek have been ordered off air, while German media organization DW’s programming will not be rebroadcast by Afghan partners. Specifically, DW’s political talk show “Aashti” in Dari and in Pashto on local partner ToloNews and science programs broadcast on Ariana TV and Shamshad are the ones affected, according to DW.
Meanwhile Taliban information and culture ministry spokesperson Abdul Haq Hammad told news agency dpa that VOA’s television broadcasts on Afghan channels have been ceased, but radio transmissions continue.
Tarik Kafala, head of languages, BBC World Service, said in a statement: “The BBC’s TV news programs in Pashto, Persian and Uzbek have been taken off air in Afghanistan, after the Taliban ordered our TV partners to remove international broadcasters from their airwaves. This is a worrying development at a time of uncertainty and turbulence for the people of Afghanistan. More than six million Afghans consume the BBC’s independent and impartial journalism on TV every week and it is crucial they are not denied access to it in the future. We call on the Taliban to reverse their decision and allow our TV partners to return the BBC’s news programs to their airwaves immediately.”
DW director general Peter Limbourg said: “The increasing restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Afghanistan are very worrying. The fact that the Taliban are now criminalizing the distribution of DW programs by our media partners is hindering positive developments in Afghanistan. Free media is essential for this and we will do everything we can to continue to provide the people of Afghanistan with independent information via the internet and social media.”
“Since the Taliban took power, the people of Afghanistan have been waiting in vain for their living conditions to improve, or at least for some degree of normality,” Limbourg added.