London: BBC TV programming has been pulled from the air in Afghanistan after the Taliban ordered local networks not to show international content.
The BBC described it as a “concerning development.” More than six million Persian, Pashto, and Uzbek language service programming viewers will be affected.
The BBC Persian TV channel is still available, but only to the 20% of Afghans who have satellite TV.
Radio broadcasts and online services remain unaffected.
Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and China Global Television Network are other overseas broadcasters. Their content has gotten removed from the air due to the verdict.
Tarik Kafala, the BBC World Service’s head of languages, said Afghans needed to have access to unbiased news. During this period of “uncertainty and turbulence.”
“We urge the Taliban to rescind their decision. Allow our TV partners to quickly restore the BBC’s news programming to their airways,” he continued.
Before the verdict, the BBC transmitted in Pashto every day for half an hour through Afghan stations.
Comparable arrangements allowed for 15 minutes of programming in Uzbek five days a week. Sixty minutes in Persian five days a week, supported by two weekly current affairs shows.
According to BBC correspondent Secunder Kermani, reporting from Kabul, the Taliban has emphasized that the media can report critically. “As long as they keep ‘Islamic ideals’ and ‘national unity’ in mind.”
However, reporters have been jailed or abused due to their reporting. Many journalists fled the country after the organization assumed power last year.
According to our source, the recent step appears to be part of a growing authoritarian trend. It came days after the Taliban revoked a decision to reopen girls’ secondary schools.
On Sunday, the group decided that men and women would have special days of the week to visit parks in Kabul.
Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August. Twenty years after being evicted, the last Western troops and diplomats withdrew. — The BBC