The Afghan Taliban authorities issued a new “religious guideline” on Sunday calling on the country’s television stations to stop showing dramas and soap operas with female actors.
In the Ministry’s first such directive to promote virtue and prevent vice to the Afghan media, the Taliban also urged female television journalists to wear Islamic hijabs when presenting their reports.
And the ministry asked the broadcasters not to broadcast any films or programs that featured the Prophet Mohammed or other revered personalities.
It called for a ban on films or programs that violate Islamic and Afghan values.
“These are not rules, but a religious guideline,” Ministry spokesman Hakif Mohajir told AFP.
The new policy became widespread on social networks late Sunday.
Despite insisting on a more moderate government this time around, the Taliban have already introduced rules for wearing women in universities and beaten and harassed several Afghan journalists despite promising to uphold freedom of the press.
The Taliban’s television broadcasting policy comes after two decades of explosive growth in independent Afghan media outlets under the Western-backed governments that ruled the country until August 15, when the Islamists regained power.
Shortly after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, dozens of television and radio stations were set up with Western help and private investment.
Over the past 20 years, Afghan television stations have offered a wide range of programs – from an “American Idol” -style singing competition to music videos and several Turkish and Indian soap operas.
When the Islamists ruled from 1996 to 2001, there was no Afghan media to speak of – they banned television, films and most other forms of entertainment because they believed it was immoral.
People caught watching TV were punished, including destroying their sets. Owning a video player could result in a public flogging.
There was only one radio station, Voice of Sharia, which broadcast propaganda and Islamic programs.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and will be posted via a syndicated feed.)