KABUL: After being forced to cover their faces by wearing masks on television by Taliban officials, female television anchors and reporters on Afghanistan’s biggest news networks have promised to continue to speak up for their rights.
The Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada issued an order last month forcing all women in Afghanistan to wear face covers in public. A new hijab mandate was also issued and imposed last week, requiring all female TV presenters and anchorwomen to cover their faces while appearing on television.
All female TV presenters on major networks such as TOLOnews, Ariana Television, Shamshad TV, and 1TV wore complete hijabs and veils on Sunday, leaving just their eyes visible.
After providing a broadcast, a TOLOnews presenter said, “They have put a mask on us today, but we will continue our battle using our voice.” “I will never cry because of this order,” a female journalist added, “but I will be the voice for other Afghan girls.”
In a recent interview, the TOLOnews staff director said, the channel was forced to enforce the order on its female presenters. “I was contacted on the phone yesterday and ordered to do it in stern tones. “It’s not by choice; it’s through coercion,” he added.
During the day, male journalists, TOLOnews workers, and other Afghan and international journalists covered their face in solidarity with the female presenters in protest against the Taliban’s strict hijab mandate.
Taliban authorities have also prohibited girls from attending school after sixth grade, contradicting prior Taliban pledges that girls of all ages would be permitted to attend school.