- (Photo: AfghanStar.tv)
An Islamic parliamentarian in Afghanistan warns that he will start a jihad against shows such as the planned "Afghanistan's Got Talent" and already existing shows of similar nature because of an unwanted Western influence upon the country.
Shows modeled after "The Voice" and "Pop Idol" have been popular for quite some time in a nation with a youthful demographics and where television has proliferated since the Taliban left power in Kabul in 2001.
Abdul Sattar Khawasi is leading the campaign against talent and reality shows, and has the promise of the Afghan minister to review the programming, according to The Telegraph.
"I have already made it clear in the lower house that I am going to start a jihad against these kind of shows and programs on our television channels," Khawasi said.
Despite the popularity of the shows, many in Afghanistan are wary as they continue to live under strict laws by conservative clerics. However, there's been a surge in broadcasting and media since the five-year reign of the Taliban, when television, films and videos were banned, according to The Telegraph.
It is estimated that Afghanistan is now home to 75 television stations and 175 radio stations, and some say that it is a sign of the country's expanding democracy and freedom. Apparently, the demand for talent and reality shows has also grown.
Afghanistan's version of American Idol, "Afghan Star," has been one of the most popular shows on TV during eight prime-time seasons since 2005, according to AFP.
"Afghanistan's Got Talent," a local franchise of the show created by producer Simon Cowell, is scheduled to begin airing in October.
The shows have come with much resistance in some cases, such as during the first season of "Afghan Star," one woman went into hiding when her headscarf slipped as she danced.
"Voice of Afghanistan," patterned after "The Voice," has had a rough time this year when one of the three singing coaches was criticized heavily on social media sites for not wearing a headscarf and wearing figure-hugging clothes.
According to The Telegraph, messages posted on the show's Facebook page also include complaints about Afghan women shown dancing.
Khawasi added: "Look at its name, 'The Voice of Afghanistan,' how sweet the name is and how great it looks, but unfortunately look at the contents of the show – it does not represent the culture and customs of our country."