Moby Group, the media company that owns TOLO TV, said the detentions of its employees were the result of the station reporting “the banning of foreign drama series."
Taliban has released three employees of Afghanistan's largest TV station who were detained over a report that the country's rulers had banned broadcasts of foreign drama series.
Three staffers from TOLO TV were taken from the station on Thursday evening, according to Khpalwak Sapai, head of TOLOnews department and one of those arrested.
Sapai later said he and Nafay Khaleeq, the station's legal adviser, were released within hours later on Thursday.
Journalist Bahram Aman, a news presenter, was kept in custody overnight and released on Friday evening, the station said.
Moby Group, the media company that owns TOLO TV, said the detentions were the result of the station reporting “about the banning of the foreign drama series”.
Taliban gave no explanation for the ban, the latest restriction imposed since their takeover of the country in mid-August.
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TOLOnews presenter Bahram Aman has just appeared on a live broadcast of TOLOnews, confirming his release.#TOLOnews pic.twitter.com/6YYS2bGAKt— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) March 18, 2022
'Time for dialogue'
The United Nations and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) decried the arrests and demanded the Taliban stop harassing Afghan journalists and stifling free expression.
“The Taliban must immediately ... stop detaining and intimidating members of the Afghanistan press corps,” a statement from CPJ said.
The UN mission in Afghanistan expressed “its deep concern about the detentions of journalists and the ever increasing restrictions being placed on media in Afghanistan”.
The mission, known as UNAMA, said on Twitter: “Time for the Taliban to stop gagging & banning. Time for a constructive dialogue with the Afghan media community.”
In December, Reporters Without Borders and the Afghan Independent Journalist Association said 231 out of 543 media outlets had closed, while more than 6,400 journalists lost their jobs after the Taliban takeover.
The outlets closed for lack of funds or because journalists had left the country, according to the report.
TOLO TV is an Afghan-owned media company with interests in South and Central Asia as well as the Middle East and Africa.
The majority of TOLOnews reporters and producers are women. Sapai, the station's executive, said he had made a special effort to recruit and train Afghan women journalists.
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UNAMA expresses its deep concern about the detentions of journalists and the ever increasing restrictions being placed on media in Afghanistan. Time for the Taliban to stop gagging & banning. Time for a constructive dialogue with the Afghan media community. https://t.co/G37HQN6jqF— UNAMA News (@UNAMAnews) March 17, 2022