Female presenters of the largest Afghan news channels appeared on television on Sunday under pressure from the Taliban, wearing face-covering clothes. In doing so, they still followed the order of the jihadist rulers, after they had ignored the dress code on Saturday in protest.
The so-called Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Sin had called on Afghan TV channels to enforce the dress code from Saturday. Previously, female journalists on television were only required to wear a headscarf.
In protest, the channels broadcast TOLOnews, Shamshad TV in 1TV Saturday all three live programs where the presenters were not covered. “We resisted and were against wearing face coverings,” says presenter Sonia Niazi at TOLOnews against AFP† “But TOLOnews was pressured and told that any female presenter who still appeared on screen without covering her face should be given another job or simply be expelled,” Niazi said.
Also TOLOnewsDirector Khpolwak Sapai says the channel has been forced by the Taliban to follow the order. “I got a call yesterday and was told in strict terms that we had to do it. So we don’t do it voluntarily, but under duress,” said Sapai.
A ministry spokesman pointed out on Saturday that the women run the risk of being fired if they do not follow the order. Men also run the risk of losing their jobs if their wives or daughters oppose the dress code.
Fewer rights for women
At the beginning of this month, Afghan women were ordered by decree to wear a burqa in public, much like during the first Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001. During that period, women in Afghanistan were also not allowed to work or go to school.
After taking power in August, the extremist Islamist organization said it intended to respect women’s rights in Afghanistan. In recent months, however, a ban on girls’ education has been announced.
Afghan women have also been banned from appearing in TV series since November and since March they are only allowed to board a plane if they are accompanied by a male family member. All kinds of restrictions for women are introduced, especially at the local level.