Taliban say Afghan TV presenters must cover faces on air | News on women’s rights

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The broadcaster said the Taliban’s order for female presenters to cover their faces “is not up for discussion”.

Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have asked TV stations to ensure that female presenters working at local stations cover their faces while on air, a government official said.

The order follows a recent directive by Taliban authorities that Afghan women must cover their faces in public and is seen as the latest sign of a possible return to the ultra-conservative Taliban rule of the past and escalating restrictions on women. women who provoke anger at home and abroad.

Akif Muhajir, spokesperson for the Taliban Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, told Al Jazeera on Thursday that authorities had informed all local television broadcasters that their female staff should wear face coverings outside. antenna.

Muhajir said the hijab or headscarf is required of Muslim women and that face-covered TV presenters would serve as good role models for all women in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s TOLOnews announced the new decision on its official Twitter account on Thursday, saying the Taliban’s order for presenters to cover up was non-negotiable.

“Representatives from the Ministries of Vice & Virtue and Information & Culture called it a final verdict and not subject to discussion,” TOLOnews tweeted.

Based on information received by TOLOnews, the order has been issued to all media in Afghanistan.

During Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, it was compulsory for women to wear the blue burqa or body veil.

After the group regained power in August 2021, the Taliban initially appeared to have eased their dress restrictions somewhat, announcing no dress code for women. But in recent weeks, authorities have introduced restrictions.

On May 7, the Taliban announced that it was now “compulsory for all respectable Afghan women to wear the hijab.” The decree was the first in the new Taliban regime where criminal penalties were imposed for violations of the women’s dress code.

Most Afghan women wear headscarves for religious reasons, but many women in urban areas like Kabul do not cover their faces.

Muhajir of the ministry told Reuters news agency on Thursday that female presenters could cover their faces by wearing a medical mask, as has been widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mohsin Khan Mohmand contributed reporting from Kabul.

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