Afghanistan: Fewer music prohibitions on religious grounds

28 September 2006

According to a new report from U.S. Department of State conditions for music in Afghanistan are improving. The Afghan government rejects claims that Afghan authorities should have issued a list of restrictions on broadcasting in June 2006 

The broadcasting restriction case is mentioned in a report which was released on 15 September 2006 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor under the U.S. Department of State, entitled “International Religious Freedom Report 2006”.

The report was prepared by the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan which has gathered information from a variety of sources, including government and religious officials, non-governmental organisations, journalists, human rights monitors, religious groups, and academics.

It mentions that in February 2006, a Kabul-based television station was fined for airing “un-Islamic material” – and that at the same time there are fewer reports of local government officials prohibiting music on religious grounds in the country. In recent years, several bans on music and broadcasting have been lifted.

Excerpts from the report:

    • “In June 2006, several news agencies in Kabul claimed they were given a two-page document containing a list of restrictions on the broadcasting and publication of programs and subject matter which are against the morals and religious and accepted customs of the public that provoke people and cause security problems. The Government rejected reports that it had issued these instructions to local media restricting their activities.”
  • “In February 2006, a Kabul-based television station, Afghan Television, was fined $1,000 (50,300 afghani) for airing un-Islamic material. In addition, two local television stations were warned against programming that ran counter to local culture and did not conform to conservative views held by many in their respective localities.”
  • “In August 2005, Radio Bamiyan received isolated threats and complaints were filed against the station for allegedly providing un-Islamic and pro-American programming. In addition, a complaint petition was filed with the Ministry of Information and Culture.”
  • “In January 2004, Kabul Television broadcasted a female singer for the first time in more than a decade, prompting protests from conservatives on the supreme court, who briefly forced the station to stop airing such performances. Moderates in the Government lifted the ban later that month, saying women singers on television were permitted under the new constitution. In April 2004, officials in Nangarhar Province briefly banned the appearance of women singers on television; however, their superiors reversed the prohibition. In June and July 2004, Kabul and Jalalabad provincial governments banned cable television; the ban was later lifted.”




U.S. Department of State – 15 September 2006:
Afghanistan: International Religious Freedom Report 2006

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