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Khoram again: wants soap operas off TV Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Kamyar Icon

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 11:46 PM

Afghan council wants soap operas off TV

http://www.sfgate.co...3/MN67UDPP5.DTL



(03-03) 04:00 PST Kabul, Afghanistan -- With suicide bombers increasing their activities, spiraling opium production, and nearly half the country prey to Taliban guerrillas, Afghanistan's spiritual guardians are focusing on a new peril: Indian soap operas.

In an echo of Taliban-era fundamentalism, the Islamic Council of Scholars won the backing in January of a powerful government minister in its campaign to get dozens of wildly popular Indian dramas off the nation's TV screens.

Abdul Khuram, the minister of information and culture, threatened television executives with prosecution if they continue to broadcast programs that the ministry deems offensive to public morality. The council singled out scenes that depict romance and Hindu gods in the homes of soap opera characters as "spreading immorality and un-Islamic culture."

Khuram's announcement came after dozens of clerics met with President Hamid Karzai in January to demand that the government ban such programs. The corny dramas have won thousands of Afghan devotees who enjoy the escapist world of the fictional rich residents of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay.

"The people like these shows. They take their minds off their troubles," said Farhad Hazatulla, a 22-year-old university student. "They do no harm. These old men (on the Islamic Council) live in the past."

The Islamic Council is a group of prominent clerics and scholars (known as the Ulema) who advise the Kabul government on religious matters and reflect a deep conservatism that prevails in Afghan society six years after the fall of the Taliban, most analysts agree. The battle to censor television is a throwback to Taliban rule, when entertainment was banned and Kabul residents risked imprisonment by secretly watching smuggled videos in their homes.

"The Taliban's most unpopular policies had to do with bans on music, kite flying, photography, chess - anything that could be classified as fun," said Jean MacKenzie, country director for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, a British nongovernmental organization. "Now with the Taliban gone, the Ulema are stepping in to take up the slack."

In recent months, the council has been increasingly vocal against perceived corruption of society by foreign television and movie channels. They have urged Karzai's government to remove Afghan rappers and pop stars from the airwaves and have chastised Afghans who watch television when they should be going to the mosque. Before turning their sights on Kabul's buoyant new media world, the clerics campaigned to bring back public executions, last seen in the main soccer stadium under the Taliban.

New TV stations have proliferated in the last three years, offering a mix of hard-hitting news that is often critical of the government and light entertainment that draws the wrath of religious hard-liners. Indian soaps are said to be popular even in the conservative province of Helmand and in remote areas where residents are willing to exhaust precious fuel to crank up their generators to watch evening soaps.

Tolo TV, Afghanistan's first commercial channel, shows three Indian dramas: "The Story of Every House," "The Trials of Life" and "Because a Mother-in-Law Was Once a Daughter-in-Law Too." Some channels air as many as six Indian soap operas daily.

"In most countries, such family-obsessed dramas with wooden acting and creaking sets would be thought to be tame," said Saad Mohseni, director of Tolo TV.

Council clerics accuse the dramas of encouraging idol worship, even though Hindu images are pixelated and scenes of Hindu worship are cut. The hardliners have also targeted Tolo TV's flagship pop programs - "Hop," a local MTV-style show, and "Afghan Star," the nation's version of "American Idol" in which demure female participants sing while wrapped in traditional head scarves.

"The unrestrained programs on TV have angered and prompted the Ulemas to react. 'Hop' ... is spreading immoralities and hurts the sacred religion of Islam," said a council statement after its meeting with Karzai. " 'Afghan Star' ... encourages immorality among the people and is against Shariah (Islamic) law."

Some viewers agree.

Qadeer, a restaurant guard, who like many Afghans goes by only one name, says dramas that "show boys and girls together who are not married is against Islamic culture. The Taliban can make propaganda out of this - that it shows the moral degradation of Kabul under President Karzai."

Humayun Hamidzada, a spokesman for Karzai, says the government is concerned about some television shows, especially Indian soap operas and music programs.

"The president has instructed the minister of information and culture to look into these concerns and to discuss the matter with the TV channels," said Hamidzada.

Mohseni, the director of Tolo TV and one of three Australian-Afghan brothers who set up the media company that includes Tolo and an FM radio station, accused the Ulema and the minister of using the issue to win support among religious conservatives.

"We have so many problems in this country - kidnapping, terrorism, inflation - so why is the government making a big deal about something that is pleasing to the eyes and ears of most Afghans?" asked Mohseni. "Our soap operas and pop shows are a bit of enjoyable escapism for viewers and take their minds off some of the misery that people have to face in this country. And 'Afghan Star' is a talent show - it is so tame. It is worrying that we are once again witnessing radicalization of Afghanistan."

MacKenzie of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting worries that the council's pressure is further weakening the Karzai government.

"By trying to force their own interpretation of Islam on an unwilling society," she said, "they risk undermining what little authority the central government has left."
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#2 User is offline   Nader Shah Icon

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 03:58 AM

Good riddance with cheap indian soaps.
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#3 User is offline   Sohrab Icon

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 08:15 AM

I am always the first to encourage the others to have control over watching the indian fimls/dramas, but in this case i dont support wazire befarhang as he has another agenda, his next move will be banning all iranian films.
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#4 User is offline   Kambiz Icon

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 02:55 PM

[quote=Nader Shah;6762]Good riddance with cheap indian soaps.[/quote]
Don't worry Nader Shah jan. They will be replaced with cheaper Pakistane soap bubbles quite soon. It was done just because of their religious difference and what they ridiculously call: "tarvije botparasti" in Afghanistan.
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#5 User is offline   PORS Icon

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 07:33 PM

Durud RK jon:

Good deed! It is always hard and important to start from yourself. I do understand you on this issue and support your point here.

I am quite sure that there will be another coward decision from wazire befarhang something like to ban Persian culture from prosperity or even as you mentioned banning Iranian movies. But quite importantly, we have to stand in our own feet and speak for ourselves.

By the way, Iranian movies are nice and more meaningful. I have downloaded and watched numerous of them from Persian Hub web-site and they do lot better job in depicting real-life situations. Here is the web-site for that, you can register and download as much as you want, just perfectly PERSIAN! - no limits for educated oneself and be prosperous. http://www.persianhub.org or sometimes http://www.persianhub.com


Tandurust bimoned,




Pors.
[quote=Rika Khana;6786]I am always the first to encourage the others to have control over watching the indian fimls/dramas, but in this case i dont support wazire befarhang as he has another agenda, his next move will be banning all iranian films.[/quote]
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#6 User is offline   Sohrab Icon

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 08:22 PM

[quote=PORS;6816]Durud RK jon:

Good deed! It is always hard and important to start from yourself. I do understand you on this issue and support your point here.

I am quite sure that there will be another coward decision from wazire befarhang something like to ban Persian culture from prosperity or even as you mentioned banning Iranian movies. But quite importantly, we have to stand in our own feet and speak for ourselves.

By the way, Iranian movies are nice and more meaningful. I have downloaded and watched numerous of them from Persian Hub web-site and they do lot better job in depicting real-life situations. Here is the web-site for that, you can register and download as much as you want, just perfectly PERSIAN! - no limits for educated oneself and be prosperous. http://www.persianhub.org or sometimes http://www.persianhub.com


Tandurust bimoned,




Pors.[/quote]

Brother Pors, this will happen if we keep on sleeping and dreaming unrealisticlly, we have to get on our feet and defend ourselves, wazire befarhang is doing stupid things with high spirit just because he feels safe and knows nothing is gona happen our side. the reaction we saw after the Basir Babai issue in Balkh was good but nowhere near enough, this pig of the century is continuting with his damaging work. apart from some speaches, interveiews, minor reactions we havent seen anythiing decisive and preventive against the wazire befarhang. trust me i am really worried, if the case of Basir babai remains unsloved i consider the big pig winner out of this matter, hope this doesnt happen.

and now iranian movies: they are our blood, our culture, our language and brothers, in my home we have totally abandoned the indian movies, i want to have an indian movie free generation . we only watch great iranian films.
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