NewsWorldAfghan female TV presenters cover faces after new Taliban rule

Afghan female TV presenters cover faces after new Taliban rule

Female presenters on local TV stations in Afghanistan voiced their frustration on Sunday (May 22) over a new Taliban ruling that they must cover their faces when on air.

“A presenter must feel totally calm and relaxed during the (news) presentation to convey the truth to the people, (but) today for the first time I experienced a moment where I had to present my program wearing a mask and I wasn’t feeling good at all,” said TOLO TV presenter Sonia Niazi.

The ruling was announced on Thursday (May 19) and comes days after authorities ordered women to cover their faces in public, a return to a of their past hardline rule and an escalation of restrictions that are causing anger at home and abroad.

While spokesman for the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue, Akif Muajer, framed the move as “advice,” he told Reuters that “the last date for face covering for TV presenters is May 21.”

Muajer did not respond to a query on the consequences of not following the advice.

Most Afghan women wear a headscarf for religious reasons but many in urban areas such as Kabul do not cover their faces. During the Taliban’s last rule from 1996 to 2001 it was obligatory for women to wear the all-encompassing blue burqa.

Muajer said female presenters could wear a face mask, which has been widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women’s rights made progress after a U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban government in 2001, with women getting jobs and proper education.

The Taliban says it has changed since its last rule, but in recent months added regulations limiting women’s movement without a male chaperone. Older girls are also yet to be allowed back to schools and colleges.

(Reuters)

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