Afghanistan’s Taliban enforced an order on Thursday, mandating that all female newsreaders in the country cover their faces while on air.
The order was handed down by the Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
They must wear full hijabs and face-covering veils that leave only their eyes on display. So far, only a few outlets have complied, including TOLOnews, Ariana Television, Shamshad TV and 1TV.
The order comes weeks after the Taliban ordered all women to cover their faces in public.
“For all dignified Afghan women wearing hijab is necessary and the best hijab is chadori [the burqa], which is part of our tradition and is respectful,” Shir Mohammad, an official from the vice and virtue ministry, told a conference in Kabul, per AP. “Those women who are not too old or young must cover their face, except the eyes.
Women are also not allowed to travel long distances alone or work outside healthcare or education. They can not receive a secondary education. Any male relatives would face punishment for women’s dress code violations, including possible jail time.
“A heartbreaking image of women crying yesterday after hearing the Taliban’s new decree that orders female journalists to cover their faces while presenting. The women of Afghanistan are truly the bravest in the world & I can’t believe they have to go through this all over again,” Shabnam Nasimi, Policy Special Advisor to the UK Minister of State for Refugees tweeted.
Sonia Niazi, a TV presenter with Tolo News, said: “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 programmes.”
Afghanistan’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada’s decree directs authorities to fire women government employees if they fail to follow the dress code.