The Afghan cabinet has closed a private television station, RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan reports. The government’s closing on 27 July of the Emroz (Today) television channel, owned by Afghan parliament member Najibulla Kabuli, is unprecedented.
Mr Kabuli told Radio Free Afghanistan by phone that the government’s decision to shut down his TV station was politically motivated. He said Emroz has been trying to reveal to viewers “Iran’s interference in Afghanistan’s affairs.” Kabuli accused some politicians and political parties of “pressuring Afghan President Hamid Karzai to close” the station.
Hakim Asher, the head of the Afghan government’s Centre for Information and Media, told Radio Free Afghanistan that the decision to close Emroz was made “because the television channel was fueling religious tensions and harming national unity.”
Emroz has aired mainly recreational programs since 2008. It also provided in-depth coverage of several executions of Afghans in neighbouring Iran last year.
There are currently more than 20 television stations operating in Afghanistan.