Tolo in Afghanistan
The debate over programming on the five private TV stations in Kabul highlights a major difficulty facing the new Afghanistan: trying to balance democratic freedoms and a largely conservative Islamic society. The constitution protects freedom of expression and prohibits anything that is against Islam. This inevitably leads to conflict, because what is against Islam often depends on who is watching.
That's pretty much what I expected. Anyone who thinks the rest of the world is going to just copy our constitution, change the names and dates and go from there is probably in need of a few good deep breaths to restore oxygen flow to the brain.
Tolo TV, which premiered in October, features women as VJs on "Hop" and as commentators on other programs. At some point, the women will take off their head scarves - shocking in a country where women still cover their hair with scarves or wear burqas, which cover everything, even a woman's eyes.
Again, not hugely shocking, but still very different.
But the clerics, also called mullahs, are demanding change of a different kind. They want the TV stations to stop showing cleavage, women singing and dancing, and anything resembling sex.
Yep, they have their version of the far right, unfortunately these people have their own government agency, oh wait, we have the FTC, nevermind.
"It has put a lot of pressure on us," he said. "But we have not censored or banned that program yet."
And that line is very important if they want to keep progressing and move forward enough to stop another Taliban from taking control, even in the face of the following controversial remark from one male host to a female.
"He says, `Your shoes are very good. Can you hold up your legs so everybody can see how good your shoes are?'" Sancharaky recalled. "`Hold up your legs' has a very bad meaning in our language."
I think, "hold up your legs" has about the same meaning in every language.
Interesting piece though.