Sar-i-Pul radio banned amid bribery charges
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Information and culture officials in northern Sar-i-Pul province on Sunday said they had shut down a radio called “Sada-i-Bano” for lacking requisite documents and operating in a non-professional way.
However, the radio officials complained their transmissions were blocked after they refused to pay bribes to the authorities concerned. The radio was sent off the air four days ago and its officials were introduced to the provincial attorney’s office.
Radio official Shafi Haideri alleged Information and Culture Director Abdul Qadoos Fahim had sought bribes from him in return for allowing the station to function.
“The director called me to his office four days ago and demanded money. He even threatened me with closing down the radio if I did not pay the illegal gratification,” he claimed.
But his allegation was rejected as baseless by Fahim, who said the radio had been functional more than a year. He said when they asked the officials to produce the required documents, they failed to do so.
Fahim said the radio station had been established on the pretext of highlighting women’s issues, but it had never cooperated with the women’s affairs department.
But a member of the Journalists’ Union in the northern zone, Gulab Shah Bawar, condemned the radio’s closure as an attack on the freedom of speech.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, the information director should have taken legal action instead of using force and threatening the radio official.
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