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Feeding Afghanistan's TV craze

January 30th, 2013
05:36 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

“We’ve made tremendous gains,” Afghan media mogul Saad Mohseni told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “The country doesn’t want to change. The people have grown accustomed to media, to television, to mobile phones.”

Under Taliban rule, there was no television at all – just a radio station playing an endless loop of Islamic prayers and government propaganda.

Now, Tolo TV, which Mohseni launched in 2004, is a staple of Afghan life. It has a 24-hour news channel, but also “Afghan Star,” a singing competition complete with sarcastic judges and text-message voting.

Mhoseni is unapologetic about the impact the media has on Afghan life.

“It facilitates social change,” he said. “It allows society to let off steam.”

READ MORE: Selling little girls to pay back debt in Afghanistan 

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Latest Episode
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. oneworldtogether

    I think that if television is helping to bring about social change and open their eyes to rest of the world then I think that it is a great idea. The Afghan people should be allowed to see how the rest of the world lives and be able to put their culture and way of life into prospective with the rest of the world. That way they can see different ways of life and use this information to integrate what they want into their society to make their life more along the lines of how they want to live and not based on censored information that does nothing for the culture but suppress it and we know from experience, and from what we are seeing now, does not work.

    January 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Reply
    • Bianca

      It's a pity of all the terrible things – corruptions, innocent killing, lack of education and job, Christian Amanpour is worried about the Tele!

      May 7, 2013 at 10:45 am | Reply
  2. spacecalculus


    January 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  3. butts6954

    I think it's great that TV 's a big hit there. It'll give the Afgahns a look into the world as it is today, instead of the way the Taliband would rather have them look at it. Which pretty much amounts to living in slightly post-prehistoric times. I always felt bad fo them when the Taliband was in control. And not really felt that much better for alot of people in that area of the world who are beiing left behind the rest of the human race because of someone elses beliefs

    January 31, 2013 at 1:57 am | Reply
  4. Jim Goddard

    I hope some people in Afghanistan have the good sense not to get a television set. The biggest social change television achieves is in the average size of people's backsides. Giving up television is a far more life-enhancing decision than getting one. Far more beneficial for social change is a free press and uncensored books.

    February 1, 2013 at 2:27 am | Reply
    • lweba

      With high illiteracy rate how many will be able to read newspapers and books?

      February 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
      • Bianca

        In that case don't you think that there should be focus on more schools and literacy centers rather than the Tele. and I should the media had literacy programs like Sesame Street, we have Afghan Idol... really! More than 90% of the country doesn't have toilet, yet Christian Amanpour is worried about the fate of media!

        May 7, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  5. david@amanpour

    if this is all true then can someone explain why people like myself are being tortured by the dutch english and american government due to the fact that they are of european and afghan decent.being treated as russian spies thrown in communism because of the west there dislike on russia.very glad to see these improvements although i believe these articals are partially lies

    February 2, 2013 at 9:14 am | Reply
  6. david@amanpour

    I have never had any change in the netherlands on getting an education nor having any social friends, never being allowed to succeed in the political city in wich i live much as i want to believe these improvements,im very sceptical about whats true and whats not true

    February 2, 2013 at 9:18 am | Reply
  7. Bahir

    people always wanted to have access to all these entertainment sources in Afghanistan, but there were either governemnt or the opposition including a large number of insurgents who are not allowing people since 1978..... and it is also a fact that every government of Afghanistan since 1978 had either a large or smaller but infleuntial number of insurgent oppositions fighting with them .... so insurgents have always had more impact on peoples life than the government ...on the other hand these media play no role in keeping people safe from those bloodthirsty insurgents who are still controlling a large area of Afghanistan and are still enforcing their law and infleuncing people with their presence and not allowing them to live the way they want to live and also it can not feed those hungry people living in area surrounded by mountains who can not make a step forward toward modernization because they are afraid they would be cut in to trace pieces...

    March 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply

    I don抰 even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don't know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren't already 😉 Cheers!

    March 14, 2013 at 1:19 am | Reply
  9. kabul

    Guys Afghanistan was well integerated with the world before Russian invasion and your so called cold war ... then west supported creation of taliban it is true fact. so see how afghanistan was during the krig till russia invaded Afghanistan and then west started supporting terrorists to fight with russians they invited chichens, pakistanis and arabas to fight russia then the international community left Afghanistan alone from 1992 to 2001 .

    April 18, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply
  10. Sabawoon

    this is true that in the time of Taliban there was no TV or els,but todays TV,s media and other Media are not created by afghan people or not coming on their oven culture based ,80% are injected by neighbored countries specially Iran and also the culture of India is also fowling in Afghanistan.
    so I think there is big deference in culture of Kabul and other provinces so this is not positive signal to us. The people of Afghanistan should promote their culture by oven not by others.

    April 26, 2013 at 5:30 am | Reply
  11. nick

    Do you have a blog? I have a poetry blog. =) If so, what's your link so I can check it out and follow you. =). I already have one started. =).

    May 8, 2014 at 10:31 am | Reply
  12. Jonathan

    I've been trying everything and unfortunately they won't work. I tried posting a playlist in my wordpress in the 'Pages' section but the playlist won't show. Can someone please help with this?.

    May 8, 2014 at 10:37 am | Reply
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