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Afghan minister reportedly dismiss journalist for using Persian words

BBC Monitoring

Text of report by Afghan independent Tolo TV, on 12 February

[Correspondent] The minister of information and culture has punished a journalist and two news editors for using Persian words in Balkh and Kabul provinces.

The measure by the Information and Culture Ministry of Afghanistan has provoked reactions in Balkh Province.

My colleague Farhad Balkhi has more.

[Correspondent] Basir Babai, a local reporter of National Afghanistan Television in Mazar-e Sharif told journalists at a news conference that he had been dismissed from his job for using the words Daneshgah, Daneshkada and Daneshjo [Dari words for university, faculty, and student] instead of [the Pashto words] Pohantun, Pohanzai and Mohasel. He said the violation has also been recorded in his work record.

[Basir Babai, National Television correspondent in Balkh Province] I had used the word Daneshgah [Dari word for university]. I should say that I am dismissed from my job as reporter of National Afghanistan Television because I am charged with ! the crime of using my language.

[Zabihollah Fetrat, head of National Television of Balkh Province] My salary was deducted for five days by the minister for airing some figures.

[Correspondent] According to Mr Babai, the punishment has cast doubt over his 20-year services for the National Afghanistan television.

[Farhad Azimi, head of provincial council of Balkh Province] I do not know why something like this happened and why they show such sensitivity. It is not very good for the future of Afghanistan, for the national unity and for unity of tribes of Afghanistan. It separates tribes and languages from one another.

[Maria Rahin, Balkh University lecturer] He has always remained on the margins and never tried to get into culture and society. He always tries to get involved in things that are not good for our culture, and cannot create opportunities for development of talents here.

[Correspondent] The measure by the Information and Culture Minist! ry comes when the Constitution of Afghanistan recognizes Dari and Pash to languages as the official and national languages of Afghanistan.

Source: Tolo TV, Kabul, in Dari 1330 gmt 12 Feb 08



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