Afghanistan: Taliban force women newsreaders to wear face coverings

By H.JanGra May 23, 2022

The Taliban have begun enforcing an order requiring women newsreaders to cover their face on air.

It announced the rule on Thursday and only a handful of programmes complied, however on Sunday most were seen covered up.

Several male newsreaders were later pictured wearing a black face mask in an act of apparent solidarity.

The vice and virtue ministry is enforcing the rule after Afghanistan's information and culture ministry issued a statement last week calling the policy "final and non-negotiable".

"It is just an outside culture imposed on us forcing us to wear a mask and that can create a problem for us while presenting our programs," said TOLOnews presenter Sonia Niazi.

Twitter users posted images of her male colleague, Sebghat Sepehr, presenting the evening news in a black mask, while a journalist on 1TVNewsAF did the same.

The rule is another example of the Taliban imposing an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam after seizing power last summer when America pulled out after 20 years.

There was hope the group might have moderated its approach because no dress code for women was initially announced.