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Thu 23 Jan 2003 04:00 AM

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Afghanistan’s chief justice bans cable TV

Afghanistan's chief justice, Fazel Haji Shinwari, has reportedly said that he has shut down cable television services in Kabul because they were broadcasting un-Islamic programmes.

Afghanistan's Supreme Court has outlawed cable television across the country. The rule was made in response to an appeal against a recent ban of cable television in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Mawlavi Fazl Hadi Shinwari, the chief justice and president of the Supreme Court, told the Reuters news agency that he had issued orders on Monday to close down five cable television stations in Kabul following similar action in the eastern city of Jalalabad."People who filed complaints to the Supreme Court said they were airing half-naked singers and obscene scenes from movies," Shinwari is quoted as saying. "Because of this, I asked the police to stop their activities. What they aired clearly was contrary to Islam and against morality and we had to issue the order. It is up to the government and the education ministry whether to take steps to follow the law. I have told them about the issue and fulfilled my responsibility in this regard."Five cable firms that started in Kabul since the overthrow of the radical Islamic Taliban regime in late 2001 stand to be affected by the ruling. The firms mostly aired Western and Indian music and movie channels and proved hugely popular in Afghanistan after five years of Islamic puritanism imposed by the Taliban.

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