Taliban enforce face covering order on female TV presenters

ISLAMABAD – Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on Sunday began enforcing an order requiring all of the country’s female television news anchors to cover their faces during broadcasts. The move is part of a tough line condemned by rights activists.

After the order was announced Thursday, only a handful of news outlets complied. But on Sunday, most of the female anchors were seen with their faces covered after the Taliban’s Vice and Virtue Ministry began enforcing the decree.

The Information and Culture Ministry had previously announced that the policy was “final and non-negotiable”.

“It’s just an external culture imposed on us that forces us to wear a mask, and that can pose a problem for us when presenting our programs,” said Sonia Niazi, a TV presenter at TOLOnews. In an act of solidarity with female colleagues, the station’s male employees covered their faces with masks, including the main reader of the evening news.

TV presenter Nesar Nabil wears a face mask to protest the Taliban's new order for presenters to cover their faces.
TV presenter Nesar Nabil wears a face mask to protest the Taliban’s new order for presenters to cover their faces.
AP
An Afghan news anchor wears a face veil during a TV broadcast May 22, 2022.
An Afghan news anchor wears a face veil during a TV broadcast May 22, 2022.
EPA

A local media official confirmed his broadcaster received the order last week, but was forced to implement it on Sunday after being told it was not up for discussion. He spoke on condition that he and his station remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from Taliban authorities.

During the last Taliban rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, they imposed overwhelming restrictions on women, requiring them to wear the universal burqa and excluding them from public life and education.

After seizing power again in August, the Taliban initially appeared to have eased their restrictions somewhat and did not promulgate a dress code for women. But in recent weeks they have enacted a sharp, hard shift that confirms the worst fears of rights activists and further complicates the Taliban’s dealings with an already suspicious international community.

TV presenter Hamed Bahram wears a face mask to protest the Taliban's new order for presenters to cover their faces.
TV presenter Hamed Bahram wears a face mask to protest the Taliban’s new order for presenters to cover their faces.
AP
TV presenter Khatereh Ahmadi bows her head while wearing a face covering while reading the news on TOLO NEWS, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 22, 2022.
TV presenter Khatereh Ahmadi bows her head while wearing a face covering while reading the news on TOLO NEWS, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 22, 2022.
AP

Earlier this month, the Taliban ordered all women in public to wear head-to-toe clothing that only reveals their eyes. The decree said women should only leave the home when necessary and that male relatives for violating women’s dress codes would be punished, ranging from a subpoena to court hearings and imprisonment.

The Taliban leadership has also banned girls from attending school after sixth grade, reversing previous promises by Taliban officials that girls of all ages would receive an education.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/23/taliban-enforcing-face-cover-order-for-female-tv-anchors/ Taliban enforce face covering order on female TV presenters

JACLYN DIAZ

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