The Council of Ministers has banned broadcast of a private TV station, Emrooz saying the TV is airing programs that harm national unity and create sectarian conflicts. According to Tolo TV, the Govt. has also urged Tolo and TV ONE to stop two of their programs. Director and owner of Imrooz has condemned the decision saying its as a result of the Iranian pressure.
Though the decision is more political rather than rational, but having followed the programs of this TV for long, i am happy for the ban. I remember that Najibullah Kabuli, an MP of Lower House of the Parliament, and the owner of Emrooz got more coverage than Karzai in the news and current affairs programs of this TV. Mr. Najibullah Kabuli is using the station as a platform for personal promotion. He is a politician, an MP and analyst who appears on all prime time programs of his TV. Most of his programs are very biased. Though i like it in a way that it has been generating awareness among people about Iranian negative role in Afghanistan, but being a journalist, i prefer professionalism. Being critical is different from being biased and all-out-against. Najibullah Kabuli defames all his political opponents through the news and current affairs programs of his TV.
Recently a friend of mine was saying there is no need to bring a cable TV connection, because the number of Afghan TV channels has increased to dozens. He was right because i feel banks and TV channels are what we have plenty of in Kabul. But there is no standard and quality. The trend in Afghanistan has been that every warlord or political heavyweight should have a TV station. For instance;
RAH FARDA TV belongs to Muhammad Muhaqiq, an MP and Hazara politician.
NOOR TV belongs to Burhannudin Rabbani.
NEGAH TV belongs to Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili
AYENA TV is owned by Gen. Dostum
TAMADUN TV belongs to Ayatullah Mohsini Kandahari, a pro-Iran cleric, the person who was behind the infamous Shiite Personal Status Law. Most of the programs of this TV are translated-shows from Iranian TV channels. And Tamadun gives live coverage to Friday sermons of Mohsini, besides those daily “religious guiding” programs having Mohsini as host.
Shamshad TV sounds like a Pashton nationalist forum. Many in Afghanistan, among common people, call it an Afghan Mellat (a Pashton nationalist party) station. In 2008 i was watching the live coverage of Rohullah Nekpa’s arrival in Kabul, who brought the first Olympic medal for Afghanistan. All the TV channels had a live coverage, but there was nothing on Shamshad. A friend of mine (Tajik ethnic) said “they are not doing right. Because this guy (Rohullah) is a Hazara, Shamshad is not giving coverage. And it was true to some extend. I noticed Shamshad’s like-24-hour coverage of Afghan Cricket Team’s arrival after a victory last year. Members of the cricket team are mostly Pashtons from Nangarhar Province.
These also shows the ethnic face of Afghanistan. All these TV channels, except some, have reflections of ethnic differences in their programs.
Very few stations have standard and quality programs and go professionally. One of the famous and most watched after Tolo is Ariana TV. Ariana Network belongs to Ehsanullah Bayat, the owner of Afghan Wireless Telecommunication Company. Since 2007 that i have been watching news programs of this TV regularly, each bulletin has a headline about Bayat Foundation and Ehsanullah Bayat giving a speech in any inauguration ceremony.
Similarly, all television stations owned by political heavyweights give all-time coverage to them. There is less professionalism. Therefore, i am happy for the ban on Emrooz, though the decision is more political by Karzai admin.