Local Ministry of Information and Culture authorities in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan have banned women’s songs from being broadcast across local media, directly affecting the 11 radio stations in operation in the area, reported Afghanistan’s TOLONews on 23 May 2016.
Head of Wranga Radio in Kandahar told TOLONews that “local officials in Kandahar have verbally ordered radio channels in the province to stop airing female singers’ songs”, a message that other radio station staff have echoed.
Kandahar’s information and culture director Hazrat Wali Hotak told TOLONews that programs on many of the province’s radio stations are unacceptable and have warned the stations to change their programming or else they will be faced with legal action.
“We have ordered a ban on female singers’ songs, but activities of a number of media outlets are not tolerable and they should bring changes to their programs,” Hotak said.
Afghan news agency Khaama Press reported on 19 May 2016 that the national Ministry of Information and Culture has “voiced concerns” regarding the ban placed by local authorities, stating that it is “against the enforced laws” of Afghanistan.
NAI, an Afghan non-governmental organisation that supports open media in the country, stated in a press release that the ban “is clearly in contrast with the 34th article of the national constitution”, which states that “none of the governmental and non-governmental organisations are allowed to make interventions in the broadcasting policies of media. Any kind of limitations is illegal, but would be permissible only by law”.
The organisation noted therefore that “local customs” have no legal basis for imposing such a ban and urged local authorities to life the ban and ease pressure on media organisations.
Freemuse has been engaging on and documenting artistic freedom issues in Afghanistan since the very beginning of the organisation’s start in 1998 at its first world conference on music and censorship where Mr. Naim Majrouh gave a speech on the country’s state of music. In 2001, Freemuse published a special report, ‘Can you stop the birds singing?’, on the loss of music in the country and in people’s daily lives. Since then, Freemuse has continued documenting the censorship of music and other art forms in Afghanistan. See some of that work here:
» Freemuse.org – 13 March 2008:
Afghanistan: Young singer becomes symbol in the struggle for music freedom
» Freemuse special report – 25 February 2008:
Afghanistan: The cage is singing
» Freemuse.org – 15 January 2008:
Female musicians put their lives in danger
» Freemuse publication– April 2001:
Can you stop the birds singing? – The censorship of music in Afghanistan
» Mr. Naim Majrouh speech at 1998 Freemuse World Conference:
The talibans have banned all music
Photo from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Information and Culture’s Facebook page
» Breitbart – 24 May 2016:
Afghanistan: Taliban birthplace bans broadcast of songs by women
» TOLONews – 23 May 2016:
Airing female songs reportedly banned in Kandahar
» Khaama Press – 19 May 2016:
Women’s songs ban in Kandahar spark outrage among media supporters
» NAI – 18 May 2016:
No organization entitled to pressure on media