Afghan women-run radio resumes broadcasts after shutdown

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ISLAMABAD — A women-run radio station in northeastern Afghanistan has resumed its broadcasts, after officials shut it down for a week for playing music during the holy month of Ramadan, a Taliban official and the head of the station said Friday.

Sadai Banowan, which means “women’s voice” in Dari, was launched 10 years ago in Badakhshan province and is Afghanistan’s only women-run radio station. Six of its eight staff members are women.

Moezuddin Ahmadi, the director for Information and Culture in Badakhshan, said the station was allowed to resume activities on Thursday after it had obeyed the “laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate” and agreed to stop broadcasting any kind of music.

Station head Najia Sorosh said after the station “gave a commitment to officials at the information and culture department, they unlocked the door of the station,” and they started broadcasting again.

The Afghan Journalist Safety Committee, an Afghan watchdog organization that promotes the safety of journalists and press freedom and which was involved in mediation for the station’s reopening, welcomed the resumption of broadcasts.

“Following AJSC’s advocacy efforts, Sadia Banowan radio resumed its broadcasts,” it said in a tweet.

PHOTOS: Afghan women-run radio resumes broadcasts after shutdown

Representatives from the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Vice and Virtue Directorate had shut down the station a week earlier.

Many journalists lost their jobs after the Taliban takeover in August 2021. Media outlets closed over a lack of funds or because staff left the country, according to the Afghan Independent Journalists Association.

The Taliban have barred women from most forms of employment and education beyond the sixth grade, including university. There is no official ban on music. During their previous rule in the late 1990s, the Taliban barred most television, radio and newspapers in the country.

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