Taliban hits DW, BBC with broadcast bans in Afghanistan | News | DW | 27.03.2022

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Taliban hits DW, BBC with broadcast bans in Afghanistan

The Taliban is cracking down on foreign media in Afghanistan. DW programming rebroadcast by partners in Pashto and Dari will be banned. The BBC said that bulletins in Pashto, Persian and Uzbek have been removed.

Picture of a television control room in Afghanistan

The BBC has called on the Taliban to reverse their decision to ban broadcasts

Afghanistan's Taliban government is targeting international media with broadcasting bans, as the militant group continues to crack down on civil liberties in the country. 

On Monday, DW's Afghan service said some DW programming will no longer be rebroadcast by Afghan partners. 

The BBC said Sunday that news bulletins in Pashto, Persian and Uzbek are to be taken off air, according to the UK's national broadcaster.

Free media 'essential' for Afghanistan development — DW 

The Taliban broadcasting crackdown targets DW's political talk show "Aashti" in Dari and in Pashto on local partner ToloNews. Science programs broadcast on Ariana TV and Shamshad were also affected. 

"The increasing restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Afghanistan are very worrying," said DW Director-General Peter Limbourg.

"The fact that the Taliban are now criminalizing the distribution of DW programs by our media partners is hindering positive developments in Afghanistan. Free media is essential for this and we will do everything we can to continue to provide the people of Afghanistan with independent information via the internet and social media," he added. 

"Since the Taliban took power, the people of Afghanistan have been waiting in vain for their living conditions to improve, or at least for some degree of normality," Limbourg said. 

Afghans must not be denied 'independent' journalism — BBC

"This is a worrying development at a time of uncertainty and turbulence for the people of Afghanistan," the BBC said. 

Tarik Kafala, who is head of languages at the BBC World Service, said that more than 6 million Afghans consumed BBC's "independent and impartial journalism" and said that it was crucial that they not be denied access.

"We call on the Taliban to reverse their decision and allow our TV partners to return the BBC's news bulletins to their airwaves immediately," Kafala said in a statement tweeted by BBC anchor and correspondent Yalda Hakim.

The Taliban is also blocking broadcasts from the US international broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) in Afghanistan, Germany's dpa news agency reported. 

Taliban spokesperson Abdul Haq Hammad confirmed to dpa that VOA's television broadcasts on Afghan channels had been stopped.

Many journalists fled Afghanistan when the Taliban seized control in August 2021. The Taliban's move to halt international broadcasters from operating comes days after the group backtracked on a decision to reopen girls' secondary schools.

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This article has been updated to include the Taliban ban on DW programming.

kb/wmr (AFP, dpa)

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