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Shakira shakes Afghanistan hard

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

London (ANI): Afghanistan's largest private television station, Tolo TV, is facing a possible legal action from the Government for broadcasting a concert by Colombian singer Shakira. Senior Muslim clerics and the Culture Ministry have reportedly warned the TV station of serious consequence.

The incident is said to be the latest sign of a growing retaliation by the country's powerful conservative establishment against the tide of Western-backed liberal reforms, ever since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.

A pro-government newspaper described the airing of the concert as the broadcast of a "naked US pop singer and dancer", claiming it provided inspiration to suicide bombers."We believe Shakira"s song will be shown with Tolo TV's exclusive logo at the training camps for suicide attackers to urge our immature young people to leave a number of our mothers bereaved," Telegraph reported the Weesa newspaper, as saying.

However, Tolo TV owner Saad Mohseni said that the broadcast was not as provocative as it was being proclaimed. "This was not that provocative and Shakira was pixellated. The government is looking for an excuse to have a go at us," Mohseni said. "When we give airtime to the Taliban we are 'talking to terrorists', when we air people criticising the government we are told we are 'opposing peace and reconciliation'," he added.

It comes as a new media legislation, having been approved by the Kabul parliament, may soon be signed by President Hamid Karzai. The new law will give the Government greater powers to limit broadcasts that are deemed damaging to Afghanistan and its culture.

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