Jokes about imams: Baghlan radio put off air
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Police shut down a local radio station in northern Baghlan province and arrested its workers after the station aired a script cracking jokes about prayer leaders, officials said on Saturday.
The Khoshi radio has been operating in the Baghlan-i-Markazi district. The radio director, Matin Mubariz, told Pajhwok Afghan News the station was closed after an audio clip making fun of prayer leaders was aired without being properly reviewed and corrected.
He said it was a mistake by radio editors who did not edit the clip before airing it, asking police to let the station resume functioning.
The Khoshi radio presents different programmes on cultural, politics and social issues for 18 hours a day.
Provincial police chief Javed Basharat said religious scholars had complained the audio clip was an insult to them and had warned they would set the station on fire if it was not closed.
He said 12 station workers had been arrested after receiving the complaint from ulemas but seven of them were released and the five, including producer of the clip, remained in police custody.
However, local media representatives said the decision to close down the radio had been taken in haste. They said the station be dealt with in accordance with the media law.
“Closing a radio station down in such a manner damages freedom of speech and media,” Ajmal Omari, said on behalf other journalists.
He added police had no right to arrest radio workers and asked the police to allow the station restart its broadcasts.
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