An office of the Kurdish broadcaster Hana TV in the Kurdistan Region's capital of Erbil. Photo: Hana TV
by Sckar Ahmed
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The expected re-launch of a television channel in the Kurdistan Region is sparking outrage among some because there will be some shows that include local and foreign and dancing.
"Hana TV is an independent local channel and it is going to be launched in mid-July. It will be a 24 hour broadcast and it is focused on the cultural beauty of the world," Hiwa Friadras, the head of the TV, told Rudaw.
The channel previously received a KRG license, but it was suspended.
"In 2008, we obtained a license from the Ministry of Culture and we do not have any legal issues. The channel worked for a short period of time, but later it was closed," Friadras said.
The station has run advertisements on social media which include photos of half-clad women dancing, drawing mounting ire from some critics.
Friadras rebuked: "We broadcast dancing only three hours.”
His goal is to showcase both foreign and traditional Kurdish dancing forms to audiences in the Kurdistan Region.
"Dancing is part of the Kurdish culture. But now, the only community not paying attention to dancing is the Kurdish society. We aim to change this and to show the people that dancing is a beautiful art,” said Friadras.
The Culture and Faith Movement, a group of preachers and clerics, warned the Ministry of Culture and relevant parties to prevent the station from broadcasting.
"The establishment and opening of a dance channel named Hana is not good news for those very much worried about the morality of Kurds. Thus, with full force, we are objecting the opening of this channel," read their statement.
The head of the movement Mullah Zana Khatam told Rudaw if the station is opened they would push to publicly demonstrate against it.
"In addition to filing a lawsuit against the launching of the channel, we will bring people and take to the streets. Because it is meant to destroy the morality of and culture of Kurdish community as it is going to be against the Kurdish culture,” he said.
Friadras responded: "We cannot change the agenda of our channel just because some people don’t like it."
An official in the culture ministry told Rudaw that Hana TV does not have a legal issue.
"Hana TV was established in 2008. It worked for a period of time and later it stopped. The station has not paid three years of debts to the ministry amounting 7,500,000 Iraqi dinars [$6,300]."
Several companies in the Kurdistan Region already broadcast under the regulations of the culture ministry. Many programs already have dancing.
Editor’s note: This story was modified at 2:42 p.m. to better reflect the position of the Culture and Faith Movement.