Balkh TV channels taken off air over unpaid taxes
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Acting on directives from the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, the provincial administration on Wednesday ordered two local television channels in northern Balkh province off the air, an official said.
The two channels, Mihraban Radio and Television and Asia TV, were banned from airing their broadcasts after failing to pay taxes over the past two years, Balkh Telecommunications Director Khudaidad Kehan told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the central authorities had repeatedly asked the two channels through letters to clear their taxes, but they did not. The channels will remain off the air until they pay taxes in light of a decision taken by a joint commission of provincial departments.
He said the Miraban television had to pay $30000 in taxes and the Asia TV $3000.
Asia TV official Abdul Basir Samadi told Pajhwok Afghan News the ban on their broadcasts was imposed on Wednesday afternoon, calling it an illegal action.
He said banning channels was the authority of the Ministry of Information and Culture and the ministry had no representation in the commission. He acknowledged not paying the yearly tax, but said it had been delayed for just three months beyond the due date.
Balkh Information and Culture Director Saleh Mohammad Khaleeq said they had been informed about the ban by officials of the two channels. He said such decisions belonged to his department and they had no role in the blackout.
He would contact the governor’s house and ask for a review of the decision and promised efforts to remove the ban. Eight local televisions are operating in Balkh.
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