Senators Want IT Minister Explain Digital TV Broadcasting Contract

Afghan Senators on Saturday issued a stern warning to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, saying that if he continues to refuse to appear before the Upper House’s complaints commission then legal action will be taken against him.

Minister Abdul Raziq Wahidi was expected to appear at the Senate on Saturday to respond to questions from the chamber’s complaints commission regarding a contract signed between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and a private company to digitalize Afghan television networks.

“For the last time, we demand the Minister of Communication and Information Technology appear before the commission for a hearing this week,” head of the complaints commission Zalmai Zabuli said. “If he again refuses to come to the commission then we will resort to taking necessary action against him and the commission will be in the lead.”

Afghanistan Radio & Television Union (ARTU) has strongly criticized the contracting process for the TV digitalization program, claiming that the contract was signed abroad and without passing through a proper biding process.

“Firstly, we want to know based on what law they are changing the broadcasting from analog to digital; secondly, it has created a kind of monopoly with the project and corruption exists in monopolization, and this could endanger our broadcasting,” ARTU Executive Director Kumail Mirshad Baig said. “Therefore, the monopoly must be broken and the contract should be put for biding again. The second and third companies could also come forward so that Afghan media can also be part of the agreement, otherwise, the process will fail.”

ARTU has reported that it has still not received a copy of the contract signed between the ministry and the private company, the name of which has ben withheld.

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