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Two local television networks shut down in Balkh

By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) illegally shut down two local private television networks in Balkh province, said Nai-Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan.

Abdul Mujib Khelwatgar, head of Nai, in a press conference on Thursday accused the MoCIT of violating media law and said that the ministry doesn’t have the right pull the television networks of the air.

The MoCIT closed two local TV networks— Asia and Meher— last week for not paying frequency usage fee.

Officials of the two private television networks said that the provincial directorate of communication and information technology in cooperation with security agencies closed their broadcasts.

Khelwatgar said that no organization, except an authorized court, has the right to pull television networks off the air.

Media supporting bodies said that the television networks should pay their fees. They urged the concerned authorities to resolve the issue through legal ways.

Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union in a press statement termed the closing of two television networks as violation the right to freedom of speech. It also urged media outlets to observe the law. The union asked local officials in Balkh to allow the two television networks to resume broadcasts.

In the meantime, bodyguards of the Second Deputy Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, Nazir Ahmadzai, assaulted Amin Babak, a producer of political shows in Khurshid TV.

Babak told media supporting bodies that he was on way to home from office, when he was assaulted by Ahamadzai’s guards. His nose was seriously injured.

Journalists’ unions expressed their deep concerns over the increasing violence against journalists and urged the concerned organizations to take the issue seriously.

They also urged the Ministry of Information and Culture to establish a special commission to investigate cases of violence against journalists.

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