Sadiqa Madadgar’s social media looked much like any other successful young Afghan influencer’s until the Taliban stormed into Kabul and upended her dreams.
The return of the group has sent a shockwave through Afghanistan’s social media. Prominent influencers have gone dark or fled, while residents and activists are scrambling to scrub their digital lives.
A former contestant on the reality singing competition “Afghan Star”, Madadgar amassed a huge following with her stunning vocals and down to earth, girl-next-door persona.
A devout Muslim who wears a headscarf, she spent her days uploading videos that transfixed Afghan youngsters, winning her 21,200 subscribers on YouTube and 182,000 followers on Instagram.
In one video, she giggles as she struggles to cut open a watermelon. On another, the 22 year old is singing a haunting folk tune in a cafe while a friend plays guitar.
On a recent trip to the city of Kandahar – the Taliban’s birthplace – she filmed herself sharing a pizza with girlfriends.
On Saturday, Madadgar posted her first overtly political post on Instagram.
“I don’t like to express my pain online but I’m sick of this,” she wrote. “My heart is in pieces when I look at the soil, my homeland which is being destroyed slowly before my eyes.”
The following day, the Taliban seized Kabul, and Madadgar stopped posting.
Millions of Afghan youngsters – in particular women and religious minorities – fear that what they once put online could now put their lives in danger.
Few can forget the first time the Taliban imposed its ultra-conservative version of Islamic law on Afghanistan between 1996-2001.
Women were excluded from public life, girls could not attend school, entertainment was banned and brutal punishments were imposed, such as stoning to death for adultery.
Ayeda Shadab was a fashion icon for many young Afghan women with 290,000 followers on Instagram and 400,000 on TikTok. Each day, she would model the latest outfits that were stocked in her upscale Kabul boutique.
In one of the most recent videos from her range, she posed in an asymmetrical sheer ball gown as Dua Lipa’s infectious dance track “Levitating” played in the background.
But she had no illusions about what a Taliban regime would mean for fashionable women entrepreneurs like her.
“If the Taliban take Kabul, people like me will no longer be safe,” she told German broadcaster ZDF in a recent interview. “Women like me who don’t wear a veil, who work, they can’t accept them.”
She was so terrified of the Taliban’s return that she had to flee, telling followers recently that she had relocated to Turkey.
Other prominent celebrities and influencers who remained in the country have scrambled to follow in her footsteps.
Aryana Sayeed, one of Afghanistan’s most prominent pop stars, posted a selfie on Wednesday taken on a United States military evacuation flight headed to Doha.
“I am well and alive after a couple of unforgettable nights,” she wrote. “My heart, my prayers and my thoughts will always be with you.”
Others have not been so lucky.
Zaki Anwari was a promising footballer who played for Afghanistan’s youth team and often posted fashionable self-portraits on social media.
On Thursday, Afghanistan’s sports federation confirmed the 19 year old was one of those who fell to their deaths after trying to cling to a US plane airlifting people out of Kabul.
Following recommendations from activists, journalists and civil society groups, Facebook announced new security measures allowing users in Afghanistan to quickly lock their accounts.
The company, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, said it had also set up a special operations centre “to respond to new threats as they emerge”.
US advocacy group Human Rights First has published advice in Pashto and Dari on how Afghans can delete their digital histories, something they also offered for activists in Hong Kong and Myanmar.
“What we heard from activists in Afghanistan were similar requests prompted by fears of being targeted when a new power took over the country’s security,” Brian Dooley, an adviser to the group told AFP.
Raman Chima, from digital rights advocacy group Access Now, which has also published guides, warns even relatively mundane online content could be dangerous given the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
“They may be targeted for retribution, for being accused of being infidels, or being unIslamic in the views of not just the Taliban but other religious extremist groups in the country,” he told AFP.
City of Brandon – September 15, 2021 ***Special Media Release*** – Missing Person – City of Brandon –
The Brandon Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Leigha Marcela CLOUD. Leigha is described as being a 23 year old aboriginal female, 5’7 and 165 pounds, brown eyes and brown hair. It is unknown what clothing she was wearing when she was last seen by family on August 15th, 2021. She is known to spend time between Brandon, Waywayseecappo and Winnipeg. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Leigha, please contact the Brandon Police Service.
Release Authorized by:
A/Sgt. Adam Potter #155
Public Information Officer
For media inquiries: (204)729-2430
Media Beat: September 16, 2021 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News
FYI teams up with Broadcast Dialogue Canadian Radio Awards
In an unprecedented partnership with FYI Music News, Broadcast Dialogue is launching the Canadian Radio Emerging Artist of the Year, presented by FYI Music News, nominated, and voted on by radio Program Directors and Music Directors.
This is a new category in the Broadcast Dialogue Canadian Radio Awards that is now officially open for submissions.
The inaugural awards program founded last fall is affectionately dubbed “The Howards” after publisher emeritus Howard Christensen.
The 2021 Awards edition has been expanded to 22 categories, including establishing several new awards for commercial and imaging production, and creating separate solo and on-air team hosting honours. Also added is a specific category recognizing Campus & Community Radio, and established the Sound of Success Award, in conjunction with Radio Connects, recognizing radio’s ability to drive business. Additionally, the Canadian Radio Emerging Artist of the Year award, presented by FYI, nominated and voted on by Program and Music directors.
Find out more about the awards here.
The following is a summary of commitments from the leading federal political parties relevant to arts and culture sectors, compiled by Canadian Arts Coalition with a big assist from Global Public Affairs.
MRC streaming data analysis
Most streaming platforms have the capability for curation and allow users to pick and choose exactly what they want to listen to. In our just released 2021 U.S. Music 360 study, we found that music streamers lean toward their personal favorites, 61% create their own playlists and 37% listen to auto-generated playlists that are specifically adapted to personal listening habits¹.
The younger generations lean on their streaming platforms for music discovery. This study shows that 59% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials primarily use music audio and video streaming services to discover music and Millennials have garnered an 8% lift on “new music release” playlists since 2020. About three quarters of both generations are interested in discovering new music and emerging artists, making them key audiences for any up and comers, but Gen Z care much more about being the first of their friends to find something new. – MRC Data
2 NDP candidates resign after social media comments on Israel, Auschwitz – Global News
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the antisemitic comments by two of his party’s candidates who resigned were “completely wrong.”
“Antisemitism is real,” Singh said during a campaign stop in Essex, Ont.
“We’re seeing a scary rise in antisemitism, and we are unequivocally opposed, and we’ll confront it.”
The party confirmed Wednesday that Dan Osborne, the candidate for the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester, and Sidney Coles, the candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s, ended their campaigns and “agreed to educate themselves further about antisemitism.”
Federal election: Jagmeet Singh one-on-one
Singh said antisemitism has no place in his party and the candidates made the right decision to resign.
“In addition, they’re talking about the importance of getting training,” Singh said.
Coles, who has since deleted her Twitter account, was reported to have posted misinformation about Israel being linked to missing COVID-19 vaccines.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, a non-profit human rights organization, shared images purportedly from Coles’ account over the weekend. Coles later apologized on social media.
Osborne was reported to have tweeted to Oprah in 2019 asking if Auschwitz was a real place, referring to the Nazi-run concentration camp in Poland during the Second World War.
He responded to backlash about the post on Twitter over the weekend, saying he had tweeted it when he was a teenager.
“I want to offer an apology,” Osborne tweeted Sunday. “The role of Auschwitz and the history of the Holocaust is one we should never forget.
“Antisemitism should be confronted and stopped. I can’t recall posting that, I was 16 then and can honestly say I did not mean to cause any harm.”
Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, said in a news release that he had been in contact with the New Democrats. He was relieved the candidates stepped down, he added.
“We thank NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for his leadership in ensuring this outcome,” Kirzner-Roberts said.
“Amid rising Jew-hatred in this country, all political parties and leaders must send a message, loud and clear, that antisemitism will not be tolerated in any shape or form.”
A handful of candidates from other parties have also dropped out during the election.
Last week the Conservative Party dropped Lisa Robinson, the candidate for the Beaches-East York riding in Toronto, after Islamophobic social media posts surfaced. Robinson has claimed the account is fake and she has previously reported it to police.
Liberal Raj Saini resigned earlier in the campaign after facing allegations that he harassed a female staff member, claims he firmly denies.
Singh condemned Coles’ posts during a campaign stop on Tuesday, but did not demand she step down. At that time, he said the candidate’s “unequivocal apology” was the right thing to do.
Singh didn’t say Wednesday why he didn’t push for a resignation sooner, but reiterated that it was the right decision for the candidates.
Liberal candidate’s Montreal posters defaced with swastikas
The New Democrats are filling their schedule for the final push before the election.
Singh was greeted by hundreds of people cheering and holding signs during stops in London West and Niagara Centre _ both of which went Liberal in the last election. He told supporters to vote with their conscience.
The NDP leader has continuedto dismiss that people should follow the idea of voting strategically and kept his sights set on Justin Trudeau during the final push.
“There is a cost to voting for the Liberals,” he said.
Singh will also be taking his message to the Ontario ridings of Hamilton and Brampton East.
He will end the busy day with a livestream on Twitch, an online gaming site. Singh, who has embraced social media trends and videos, said it’s a way to connect with potential voters.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
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