In a breaking news announcement on June 6, Tamadon TV stated that a Taliban delegation was inside its station to shut down operations. (Screenshot: Tamadon TV)

Taliban orders shutdown of broadcaster Tamadon TV

New York, June 7, 2024 — The Taliban must reverse its order to shut down private broadcaster Tamadon TV and end its ongoing, unprecedented suppression of Afghan media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.

On Thursday, the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice announced the closure of Tamadon TV, alleging that the broadcaster was affiliated with the Harakat-e-Islami political party, after the Taliban banned all such affiliations, and operating on “seized land,” according to Qari Baraktullah Rasuli, the spokesperson for the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice who posted the statement on X, formerly Twitter, and media reports. Tamadon TV denies the claims.

In a breaking news announcement earlier that day, Tamadon TV stated that a Taliban delegation was inside its station to shut down operations. However, later the TV station confirmed that the suspension of its operations was postponed until Saturday. The Taliban has not announced an exact date that it plans to close the station. 

“The Taliban must immediately and unconditionally reverse its decision to ban Tamadon TV and allow the channel to continue broadcasting,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Beh Lih Yi. “The Taliban is expanding its relentless crackdown on Afghan media and suppressing any independent voices. This must end.”

On June 6, Mohammad Jawad Mohseni, director of Tamadon TV, rejected the Taliban’s claims about the broadcaster’s political affiliations, according to broadcaster Afghanistan International. Mohseni noted that the late founder of the TV station, Ayatullah Asif Mohseni, had resigned as the leader of Harakat-e-Islami in 2005, years before establishing Tamadon TV.

Mohseni said that “the land for Tamadon TV was purchased from a private owner and has a legitimate and legal title deed, and it is not and has never been government property.”

On February 18, 2023, about 10 armed Taliban members raided the headquarters of Tamadon TV in Kabul, beat several staff members, and held them for 30 minutes.

Tamadon TV is predominantly owned and operated by members of the Hazara-Shia ethnic minority and covers political and current affairs as well as Shiite religious programming. Hazara people have faced persecution and escalated violence since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021.

The closure order of Tamadon TV follows a series of other restrictions imposed on Afghan media in recent months. In May, the Taliban’s Media Complaints and Rights Violations Commission banned journalists, analysts, and experts from participating in discussions or cooperating with London-based Afghanistan International’s television and radio stations. The Commission called on citizens to boycott Afghanistan International and banned anyone from providing facilities for broadcasting the channel in public places.

Earlier, in April, the Taliban shut down Noor and Barya TV broadcasters, which were affiliated with other Islamist political parties, citing violations of “national and Islamic values.”

The Taliban has shut down other broadcasters since it took over the country in 2021,  including Radio Nasim. in central Daikundi Province, Hamisha Bahar Radio and TV in eastern Nangarhar province, and Radio Sada e Banowan in northeastern Badakhshan province. In 2022, the group also banned international broadcasters such as the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America.

CPJ’s requests for comment sent to Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid did not receive a response.