A new private Kabul television station, Emrooz, has made a name for itself by airing entertainment and music programs mainly focused on youth.
But the upstart broadcaster's quest for ratings has earned the wrath of authorities, with prosecutors
accusing it of undermining Afghan society's traditional Islamic values and influential detractors threatening to revoke its broadcast license.
Critics are upset at the station for broadcasting scenes and clips of immodestly dressed women, notably
Tajik and Indian singers and dancers.
Emrooz staff were questioned by Kabul prosecutors this week.
Fahim Kohdamani, a program editor at Emrooz, tells RFE/RL that station managers were repeatedly summoned by the Information and Culture
Ministry before their case was referred to the Office of the Prosecutor-General.
Emrooz is the only Afghan television that does not censor music clips, Kohdamani says: We air video clips by Tajik, Iranian, Afghan, Indian, and even
sometimes Arab and European music clips that show female and male performers signing and dancing. The Ministry of Culture has always had this problem with us.
Emrooz producers insist they have violated no laws but are being forced to choose
between overly aggressive self-censorship and even more rigid censorship by government agencies.
Despite Emrooz's pending legal wrangle, and the threat of a lost television license for the station and lost freedom for some individuals within the
company, Emrooz appears defiant.
The station is launching a national search for male and female models. The show will be broadcast monthly, with more than 2,000 contestants competing for two top prizes over four months. It will be Afghanistan's
first publicly declared fashion program -- and it has already incurred threats.
But Emrooz executives, defiant in the face of such threats, say they will continue to break down taboos -- even if they must pay a price for doing so.