Following the Taliban’s recent mandate, female commentators covered their faces in Afghanistan’s major news channels, airing Sunday. On Saturday, it was reported that many news anchors had defied the order to hide their appearance on TV but their employers were under pressure.
The Taliban’s recent mandate has been one of the restrictions imposed by the Taliban since it seized power in Afghanistan last year.
Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada issued an order for women to cover up in public with a traditional burqa, including their faces.
The BBC reported that on Sunday, wearing hijabs and masks, women presented and reported news bulletins and other programs on popular channels such as TOLOnews, Ariana Television, Shamshad TV and 1TV.
TOLOnews’ anchor Sonia Niazi told news agency AFP that she has resisted and opposed wearing a mask. “But TOLOnews was under pressure and any other female narrator who appeared on screen without covering her face had to be given a different job or simply removed,” she said.
“TOLOnews was forced and we were forced to wear it,” he added.
Previously, women presenters in Afghanistan had to wear a scarf over the head. TOLOnews director Khapolwak Sapai said the channel had been “forced” by its staff to comply with the order.
Strictly speaking, you can call the telephone yesterday. So we are doing it by force, not by choice, ”he said.
Meanwhile, male journalists and employees of TOLOnews united with female commentators in masks in the channel’s offices.
Ministry spokesman Mohammed Akif Sadek Mohajir said that the media channels have noticed the dress code and officials have praised it.
However, he said Taliban officials were not against women presenters working on channels.
When the Taliban was in office for the first time in 1996-2001, they imposed enormous restrictions on women, insisted on wearing an all-encompassing burqa, closed their eyes and blocked them from public life and education.
(With inputs from agencies)