Afghan radio station closes down following Taliban threats

An elderly Afghan man listens to a radio early in the morning in Kabul on July 16, 2015. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 July 2019

Afghan radio station closes down following Taliban threats

  • Ramez Azimi, director of the Samaa station in the city of Ghazni, the capital of eastern Ghazni province, says he received phone calls as well as written warning notes
  • The station was closed four days ago; its third closure in the past four years

KABUL, Afghanistan: The head of a local radio station in eastern Afghanistan says it was shut down after repeated threats from the area’s Taliban commander.
Ramez Azimi, director of the Samaa station in the city of Ghazni, the capital of eastern Ghazni province, says he received phone calls as well as written warning notes purportedly from the Taliban commander.
Azimi says the Taliban, who control several districts in Ghazni province, threatened them because three of the station’s 16 employees are women. The Taliban are against women’s rights to education and work.
He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the station was closed four days ago. It was its third closure in the past four years.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, denied the insurgents had threatened Samaa.


Malaysian police chief insists Al Jazeera probe ‘professional’

Updated 05 August 2020

Malaysian police chief insists Al Jazeera probe ‘professional’

  • The government said the documentary tarnished the image of the country
  • Abdul Hamid said the investigation “will be very transparent”

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s police chief insisted Wednesday investigations into an Al Jazeera documentary are being conducted “professionally” and rejected concerns about worsening media freedom, a day after the broadcaster’s office was searched.
Authorities are investigating the news network’s program “Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown,” after the government was angered by its critical look at the treatment of migrant workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials on Tuesday searched the Qatar-based broadcaster’s Kuala Lumpur office and seized two computers, sparking fresh anger from Al Jazeera and rights groups and adding to concerns about media independence in Malaysia.
But the country’s Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said the search by police and communications ministry officials was carried out “very professionally.”
“It was not a military kind of action taken by the police,” he told AFP in an interview.
He added that Al Jazeera staff were “informed earlier of our intent to be there. They were even asked which devices were used. They cooperated.”
The search came after seven Al Jazeera journalists were questioned by police last month in connection with the documentary.
Abdul Hamid said the probe would be wrapped up soon, after which the attorney-general will decide whether to bring charges.
But the government insists the documentary — which focused on alleged mistreatment of migrants when they were rounded up during a coronavirus lockdown in May — tarnished the country’s image.
Authorities say the round-up was necessary to protect the public from the virus.
Al Jazeera is being probed for alleged sedition, defamation and transmitting offensive content, but it has stood by the documentary and insists the reporting was impartial.
Abdul Hamid said the investigation “will be very transparent” and insisted journalists in Malaysia were still free to do their jobs.
But he also urged international media to “be responsible,” calling them not to “write something... that is inaccurate.”