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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 16:08 UK

Afghan TV journalist is released

Mohammad Nasir Fayyaz
Mr Fayyaz was asking difficult questions of the government

An Afghan television presenter, Mohammad Nasir Fayaz, who was arrested earlier this week has been released from detention, officials say.

It is not yet known whether any conditions were attached to his release.

Mr Fayyaz hosted a programme on the private Ariana television station which broadcast allegations of corruption within the government.

In turn, government ministers made corruption allegations against him.

The Speaker of the Afghan parliament, Mohammad Yunus Qanuni, is reported to have described the arrest by the National Directorate of Security as illegal.

'Under-performing'

Earlier this year, the Afghan government threatened to take action against a number of private TV stations if they did not stop showing Indian soap operas, which it said were un-Islamic.

The family of late BBC reporter Abdul Samad Rohani during a gathering to condemn his killing
Journalists in Afghanistan are under attack from both sides

Mr Fayyaz was detained after the broadcast of a documentary which was critical of members of the cabinet.

He is the presenter of an investigative programme called The Truth, which recently strongly criticised two government departments accusing the ministers in charge of under-performing in their jobs.

The programme featured a performance graph which showed how well various government ministries were functioning.

The BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says that many people in government are not used to such critical analysis - Afghanistan does not have a tradition of investigative reporting - and it is thought that is why the journalist was detained.

Afghan intelligence officials have refused to comment on his case.


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