Radio Kyber emerges as an alternative to the illegal broadcasts of 'FM Mullahs'

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Mar 13 (ANI): Radio Khyber provides an alternative to hardline Islamic broadcasts with a medley of local news, talk shows, and music in Pakistan's Tribal Areas that border Afghanistan.

Airwaves in this region are filled with the illegal broadcasts of the "FM Mullahs" who preach about the holy war and of recruiting fighters, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Kishwar is one of 15 reporters for Radio Khyber, a rare non-extremist station broadcasting in the town of Jamrud, in the militant stronghold of Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas.

Radio Khyber treads carefully, trying to avoid a backlash from either the militants - who criticize the playing of music - or the Pakistani Government, which dislikes its news coverage in this sensitive region.

"Until Radio Khyber started news reporting, the FM mullahs were winning the dial wars," says Aurangzaib Khan, the manager of Media Development at Internews Pakistan in Peshawar.

Radio Khyber broadcasts for three hours each in the morning and evening. When it first started, the government - represented in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas by the FATA Secretariat - mandated that Radio Khyber simply broadcast Pakistani pop songs and use news reports from the state-owned Radio Pakistan.

The Pashto-language broadcasts of Radio Pakistan are not transmitted throughout FATA, the CSM quoted Khan, as saying.

Residents of FATA are thus forced to choose between Radio Azadi, the Afghan Service of Radio Free Europe that broadcasts from Afghanistan, and the illegal transmissions of FM Mullahs. (ANI)

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