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    Rahin opposes harsh curbs on TV programmes

    KABUL (PAN): The minister of culture and information on Saturday told the Meshrano Jirga that harsh restrictions on TV entertainment programmes could prompt youngsters to watch objectionable CDs.

    Summoned by the upper house, Syed Makhdoom Rahin said if inordinate curbs were imposed on TV programmes, the youth would start searching for vulgar and obscene CDs -- a difficult task for the authorities to deal with.

    Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said Rahin was summoned to brief lawmakers on if his ministry had any plan to prevent the telecast of "half-naked songs" on local TV channels.

    "Look at deaths occurring across the country on a daily basis and TV channels screening half-naked songs, which should be immediately banned," Muslimyar demanded.

    But Rahin said restrictions on the electronic media would have a negative impact on the youth. "Eight of 10 CDs reaching Kabul contain immoral scenes," Rahin said, adding some buyers and importers of such CDs had been arrested.

    Lawmaker from central Logar province, Sifatullah Haqmal, said the culture and information ministry had no control over TV programmes. He added a number of people unhappy with TV programmes had joined the Taliban.

    But Rahin did not agree with Haqmal, saying the ministry had complete control over TV programmes. "If rebels are unhappy with TV programmes, why they kill people in mosques and schools," he asked.

    Another lawmaker from western Farah province, Gul Ahmad Azami, saw a huge difference in salaries of TV workers. He said some workers received 5,000 afghanis a month while others were paid as many dollars, which he called a great injustice.

    A senator from Herat, Taiba Zahidi, said during Eid days, female singers presented songs that ran contrary to Afghan and Islamic values. She said TV channels should present educative and informative programmes.

    A legislator from Farah, Syed Farrukh Shah Janab, asked the government to prevent officials from immoral activities in the UAE and other foreign countries. His remarks angered many lawmakers, who asked him to shut up.

    The minister said any restriction to TV programmes needed unity among lawmakers. He suggested if an MP identified a particular programme as vulgar, he should inform the ministry for necessary action.

    ma/mud