The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt, judge in Afghan TV clash

Kabul, Jan. 22 (Reuters): An Afghan minister said today a ban on cable television networks imposed this week would soon be lifted, but the country’s chief justice stuck to his view that they violated Islamic law.

The five cable television networks operating in Kabul were shut down late on Monday after Mawlavi Fazl Hadi Shinwari, the chief justice and president of the Supreme Court, said their programmes offended Islamic sensibilities. The move followed similar action in Jalalabad.

“The ban is something of a temporary issue,” information and culture minister Sayed Makhdoom Raheen said. “It will be scrapped soon after the Cabinet approves a law for the operation of cable TV.”

Raheen insisted the ban was imposed on networks not registered with his ministry.

“We are working on a law for TV cable programmes. The main clauses of the law say that the networks should be registered by the government and pay a certain amount of tax,” he said.

“And their programmes must not be against moral issues and Islam,” the minister said when asked about Shinwari’s comments. Owners of the networks said they had originally started running them after getting licences from the government of President Hamid Karzai.

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