After a brief act of rebellion, TV presenters in Afghanistan were forced to cover their faces when they aired on Sunday, in accordance with a decision by the Taliban regime that requires all Afghan women to cover their faces when in the are public.
The general requirement to cover the face in public was issued earlier this month by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which requires women to cover their bodies from head to toe, including their face. The ministry advised wearing the burqa but did not specify any mandatory items. This impertinence has not been respected in most television shows, where women have been shown with their heads covered but their faces visible.
On Saturday, however, the ministry issued a new statement extending the face covering requirement to include presenters as well, effective immediately.
On the same day, the moderators initially rebelled: Many of them continued to broadcast with their faces uncovered. On Sunday, however, the regime began to put pressure on TV stations, threatening that presenters would be removed from programs or fired if they disobeyed, and that the same would happen to their male colleagues. So most moderators had to obey, and on Sunday she went on the air with her face covered.
The IEA recommended to Shamshad Radio and Television officials that female presenters must hide their faces during news and other programmes. pic.twitter.com/K92qwC7fVd
– ShamshadNews (@Shamshadnetwork) May 19, 2022
However, there were some cases of resistance and solidarity. TOLO News, one of Afghanistan’s most liberal television channels, went on the air on Sunday in solidarity with their colleagues, male anchors whose faces were covered with surgical masks, and the channel’s management publicly protested the Taliban imposition.
TOLOnews and other TV stations in Kabul followed the Ministry of Vice and Virtue’s order on Sunday to cover the faces of female presenters.
The Ministry of Vice and Virtue named Sunday morning as the deadline and called that order mandatory… 1/3#TOLO news pic.twitter.com/8ijXGWSjJj
– TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) May 22, 2022