The So-called Boom of Afghan TV Channels

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.



Filed under Afghan Media

4 responses to “The So-called Boom of Afghan TV Channels

  1. Hasina

    If somebody ask the people of afghanistan,mostly kabuli residents, with no doubt all of them support and are agree with this action of govrnment. that was clearas a day that for “Emroz” tv nothing is importent only spreading the tension between Afghan nations.

  2. sahil

    The ban on Emrooz tv is one of the best decision of our Governament and i m really happy this.
    I have also some complain about other TV channels who are broadcasting the Inidan Television dramas and so so many other programs. This is not our culture at all.
    I hope the gov will take a reaction on these programs.

  3. Adel

    Ban on Emroz is a warning to other channels to shut up and don’t discuss anything that might harm or question the Pashtoon supremacy.

    Yes, Emroz may have been a reckless channel, but the ban has other hidden motives which will unfold as Karzai regime gets closer to his Taliban Pashtoon brothers. Therefore, don’t raise the toast in haste.

  4. daniyal

    What afghanistan needs is a media that focuses on education-after almost 30 nyears of no education we need to education more than anything. But instead of seeing more health and civil awareness programs all I most of the times on all of the channels is songs and music. OK one or two channels should be solely for music but there should be a channel in pashtu and other regional languages soly for education, another one for adult education and vocational mvoies and home courses. There should be a channels for kids where moral boosting movies and programs, translated into pashto and Fari are shown. Besides entertainment we need a channel for sports and fitness. Afghans love sports and this channel should be repossible for sporting events all over afghanistam-advertising would pay for the sports and entertainment channels and foeriegn aid should pay for the educational channels after all the occupying forces spend millions in afghanistan in one day on weapons and supplies. I think that money is better invested in educating afghans to run thier country.

    And yes, afghans have a rich and diverse culture and many languages but Indian culture isn’t one of them. Afghan channels should help to preseve war ravaged local culture.

    Another thing for local channels to focus on is exposing afghanistan’s scenic landscape and historical background to foreifners and afghans living abroad, Most foerigners think of afghanistan as an arid desrt with deforested mountains and they have no knowledge of afghanistans rich archelogical treasures.

    May Allah end this stupid war and may the afghans know freedom. In just thirty years this little nation has fought (and still fighting) two mighty super powers and alhamdulilah it is still standing. The last nation to so that is Germany but then germany was a super power of a sort and armed to the teeth nut the afghans have survived thus without either and an airforce or lerions of tanks. Allah is indeed witth us and th emjahedeen. ( Not the american talibaan or the pakistan talibaan those are mercenaries)

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