The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shakira’s hips shake up Afghans

Kabul, Nov. 19: A hip-shaking performance by the pop star Shakira has provoked a showdown between the Afghan government and the country’s independent media.

The culture ministry has been joined by senior clerics in warning the country’s largest private television station of serious consequences following the broadcast of a concert by the Colombian singer, famous among her young fans for her onstage gyrations.

The performance by Shakira, whose hits include Hips Don’t Lie, left Tolo TV facing possible legal action by the authorities, who are poised to take dramatic steps against the more liberal-minded newspapers and broadcast media.

The incident is the latest sign of a growing fight back by the country’s powerful conservative establishment against the tide of western-backed liberal reforms since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.

Draconian new media legislation is soon to be signed into law by President Hamid Karzai after it was recently approved by the Kabul parliament. The measures will give the government greater powers to limit broadcasts that are deemed damaging to Afghanistan, primarily by forcing TV stations to carry more religious programmes or face going off air.

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