The country’s largest media outlet reported Thursday that the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan have ordered all female television presenters to cover their faces when they appear on air.
The order came in a statement issued by the Taliban’s Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which is responsible for enforcing the group’s rules, as well as the Ministry of Information and Culture, according to TOLOnews news channel in a tweet. The statement described the matter as “final and non-negotiable,” according to the channel.
The statement was sent to Moby Group, which owns TOLOnews and several other TV and radio networks, and the tweet said it applies to other Afghan media as well.
A local Afghan media official confirmed that his station had received the order and was informed that the decision was not up for discussion. He spoke on condition of anonymity or anonymity for fear of getting into trouble with the authorities.
Several presenters and hosts posted their photos on social media that showed their faces covered with masks during the broadcast of the programmes. One of TOLO’s most prominent announcers, Yalda Ali, posted a video of her wearing a mask with the caption: “Woman erased by order of the Ministry of Virtue and Vice.”
On one of the Shamshad channels, the implementation of the order was uneven: a female anchor appeared wearing a mask on Thursday, while another female anchor was revealed later and showed her face.
During the first period of Taliban rule, from 1996 to 2001, they imposed sweeping restrictions on women, requiring them to wear the burqa, which covers their eyes with a mesh cloth, preventing them from public life and education.
In August, when they returned to power in Afghanistan, the Taliban appeared to have loosened some of their shackles, declaring that there were no women’s dress codes.
However, they have taken a sharp turn in recent weeks that has confirmed the worst fears of human rights defenders.
Earlier this month, the Taliban ordered all women in public to wear clothes that covered them from head to toe, leaving only their eyes visible.
This decree stipulated that women should leave the home only when necessary and that male relatives would face punishment for violating the woman’s dress code, which would begin with citations and reach court hearings and imprisonment.
The Taliban leader also issued a decree banning girls from attending school after the sixth grade, reversing the Taliban’s previous promises to allow girls of all ages to attend school.
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