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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 17:29 UK

Afghan soap opera dispute deepens

Afghan people watch a movie inside a video shop in Kabul
Indian soap operas have proved popular on Afghan television

The Afghan government has asked prosecutors to investigate two private TV stations that have not complied with a ban on Indian soap operas.

The authorities say the popular Indian programmes conflict with Afghanistan's Islamic values.

However, Tolo TV and Afghan TV say the ban is illegal.

The Indian serials often show men and women together and feature what some Afghans consider to be immodestly-dressed women.

'No assurance'

The ministry of information and culture said it had referred the two stations to the attorney general.

An Afghan man carries his broken television for repairing on the outskirts of Jalalabad
Private TV has flourished since the fall of the Taleban

They were supposed to have stopped running the programmes on Tuesday.

"Tolo has not stopped the broadcast of the said series by the set date and Afghan TV, despite repeated telephone contacts, has not officially assured they would stop its series," the ministry said in a statement.

Tolo has been told to pull two Indian soaps, Tulsi and Kasuati Zindagi Kay.

Afghan TV has been told to pull Thief of Baghdad.

Two other stations are believed to have complied with the ban which was announced last month.

Conservative Muslim clerics in the country argue that the serials, which show dramatic and passionate love stories featuring the elite of Bombay, are immoral.

They often show men and women together, and what some consider to be "immodestly" dressed women.

President Hamid Karzai has given his support to the ban: "These television programmes, which contradict the daily life of Afghans and which our people do not accept, must be stopped."

Afghan law forbids publishing material "contrary to the principles of Islam", and clerics argue that the soap operas fall into that category.

Tolo TV first showed the soap operas in 2005.


SEE ALSO
Afghan defiance over Indian soaps
15 Apr 08 |  South Asia
Indian soaps face Afghanistan ban
03 Apr 08 |  South Asia
Afghanistan pulls cable channels
11 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Bollywood plans Afghan movie
28 Dec 01 |  Entertainment
Bollywood eyes Afghan market
27 Nov 01 |  Entertainment

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