Taliban Declares Harshest Ever Mass Censorship Campaign

The Taliban Minister for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue in Afghanistan declared that all television sets, videocassette recorders, videotapes and satellite dishes must be removed from citizens’ homes within 15 days or the technological devices will be smashed by the religious police.

In an attempt to isolate the Afghan population, the Taliban has added these “causes of corruption in society” to their list of unacceptable household items. Audiotapes, films, and most other forms of entertainment have already been banned for months. Leonard Sussman of Freedom House referred to these new rules as the harshest anywhere. “The Taliban is killing urban communication,” he said, referring to the censorship as “the worst of the worst.”

The communications ban comes at a time when human rights and women’s rights activists in the west have stirred political opposition to the Taliban’s severe oppression of its citizens. Any individual found with the aforementioned video equipment will be punished by Islamic law, according to a radio broadcast in Kabul, although no explanation of that penalty was given. In 15 days, houses will be arbitrarily raided by heavily armed and uneducated Taliban militia in mass inspections for illegal devices.


The New York Times - July 10, 1998

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