Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul offers his observations on new restrictive media regulations promulgated by the Taliban authorities. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our Correspondent’s name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
The Taliban Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has published and are enforcing a new Guideline/Procedure imposing restrictions on visual media in the country. According to this Procedure women cannot show up on TV shows or on other visual media. This Procedure has eight articles and below are the major restrictions imposed on the visual media:
1. There shall be no publication of movies which are against Islamic and Afghan principles.
2. No programs shall criticize the public figures. This was previously done through comedy shows.
3. There shall be no news reports by women without Hijab.
4. There are to be no pictures of messengers;
5. Half-naked pictures and videos of men are banned.
The above occurs while most women reporters fear for their lives in Afghanistan; many have already left the country. The above restrictions will definitely damage the newly developed media sector in the country. There were at least 20 private TV channels and two government-owned TVs in the country prior to the Taliban takeover. Media including TV have changed dramatically since the Taliban takeover. We are seeing religious and political shows are replacing music and entertainment TV.