Female announcers of several major TV channels in Afghanistan covered their faces during today’s TV broadcast. The day before, they had not yet done so, thus disobeying the orders of the ruling Taliban. On Friday, they announced that from now on only the eyes of female television journalists would be seen.
On Sundays they wore the burqa to present the news on TOLOnews, Ariana TV, Shamshad TV and 1TV. “We resisted,” says Sonia Niazi, presenter at TOLOnews† “But TOLOnews came under pressure, with the two students saying that any anchor who appeared on screen without covering her face should get another job.”
Indeed, a ministry spokesperson warned yesterday that the women risked being expelled if they did not comply with orders. In addition, men are also at risk of losing their jobs if their wives or daughters are against the dress code.
Since returning to power last year, the Taliban have imposed a series of restrictions on civil society, many of them aimed at curtailing women’s rights. At the beginning of this month, Afghan women were ordered by decree to wear the burqa in public, as happened during the first Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001. During that regime, women were also not allowed to work or go to school.
After taking power in August, the extremist Islamic organization said it plans to respect women’s rights in Afghanistan. However, in recent months it has been announced that girls’ education will be banned. Afghan women have also been banned from appearing on TV soap operas since November, and since March they are only allowed to board the plane if they are accompanied by a male family member. All kinds of restrictions on women were reinstated, especially at the local level.
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