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Afghan Radio Station Dedicated To Women Shut Down

Two Afghan women work in a studio of Voice of Women, the first radio station in Afghanistan to be dedicated to the interests of women, in Kabul in 2005.
SAR-E POL, Afghanistan -- The owner of an Afghan radio network dedicated solely to women says one of its regional stations has been shut down after he refused to pay bribes to officials.

The local Voice of Women station in the northern province of Sar-e Pol was closed two weeks ago.

Shafiqullah Azizi, the owner of the Kabul-based broadcaster, told RFE/RL on July 31 that officials from the provincial Information and Cultural Affairs Department demanded he pay $400 in bribes a month to continue broadcasting.

When he refused, Azizi said the department closed the station.

Local officials have refuted his claims, insisting the station was closed because it lacked the proper permits.

The network broadcasts daily 12-hour programs on women's issues in the Dari, Pashto, and Uzbek languages.
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    RFE/RL's Radio Azadi, one of the most popular and trusted media outlets in Afghanistan, is based in Kabul and supported by a nationwide network of local Dari- and Pashto-speaking journalists. Nearly half of the country's adult audience accesses Azadi's reporting on a weekly basis.