Male news presenters in Afghanistan are also covering their faces on air, to protest the Taliban government’s act of forcing female anchors to cover their faces.
The ruling, passed by the Afghan Taliban on May 19, stipulates that all women television anchors must wear face-coverings while on-air. Very few TV stations complied with the rule initially, however, since Sunday, most female anchors were seen with covered faces, as the government began enforcing the rule.
Television networks were told by the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue that any female presenter who did not comply with the ruling must either be given a different job, or fired.
A female TV anchor, Sonia Niazi, with Afghani network TOLOnews told AFP that her channel was pressured by the Taliban government, who said that the ruling is ‘final and non-negotiable’.
“We resisted and were against wearing a mask but TOLOnews was pressured and told that any female presenter who appeared on screen without covering her face must be given some other job or simply removed,” Sonia said.
Since then, male news reporters have been covering their faces as well, as an act of solidarity with their colleagues.
This marks the latest in a series of rulings the Taliban government has passed, restricting the agency of women in the country. On May 9, it ordered all women in the country to cover their faces, marking a return to the militant group’s hardline policy imposed during its 1996-2001 rule.
Some regulations put forth by the Taliban in recent months that drew intense criticism include the ban on secondary education for women, limitations on women’s movement without a male chaperone and a ban on men and women visiting parks together.