Female TV presenters go against Taliban order to cover faces on air


Female presenters on Afghanistan’s key TV channels went on air on Saturday without covering their faces, going against the Taliban’s order to cover up their faces to conform to the group’s policy.

Since their return to power last year, the Taliban have imposed a series of restrictions on civil society, many aimed at limiting the rights of women and girls.

Earlier this month, Afghan supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada issued a decree for women to cover themselves entirely in public, including the face, ideally with the traditional burqa.

The dreaded Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice ordered television presenters to follow by Saturday. Prior to that, they were only required to wear a scarf.

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But broadcasters TOLOnews, Shamshad TV, and 1TV all broadcast live shows with the faces of the presenters visible.

Our women colleagues are concerned about the fact that if they hide their faces, The next thing they will be told to do is to stop working,’ said Shamshad TV news chief Abid Ehsas.

“That’s why they haven’t kept order so far,” he said, adding that the channel had requested further talks with the Taliban on the issue.

Taliban orders like this have forced many women journalists to leave Afghanistan since the hard-line group came back to power, one presenter said.

Mohammad Sadeq Akif Mohajir, the spokesman for the vice ministry, said the women presenters were violating the decree. “If they don’t comply, we’ll talk to the managers and the hosts’ custodians,” he said. “Anyone living under any particular system and government must obey the laws and orders of that system, so they must implement the order,” he said.

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