Kabul, May 19 (EFE).- The Taliban government on Thursday notified Afghan media outlets that the order for women to cover their faces in public extended to the entire population and therefore women TV presenter had to follow the norm, especially because they set an example for the country.
“The veil order is common for all, but the media workers haven’t implemented it, therefore we specifically reminded them to obey the order,” Mohammad Sadiq Akif, the media director and spokesperson for the ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice, told EFE.
He stressed the role of media and mediapersons, highlighting that they play a “vital role” in the propagation of virtues and have an important impact on society.
The spokesperson said that Afghans wanted their media to be a role model and messenger for them and “therefore, we felt necessary to share this issue with the media.”
The Taliban are trying to enforce the order issued on May 7, which made it mandatory for women to wear the burka or similar clothes covering their faces while in public, leading to strong criticism from the international community.
One of the main Afghan broadcasters, Tolo, confirmed on social media that the fundamentalist government had “in a new order demanded all female presenters working in all TV channels to cover their faces while presenting programs.”
The MOBY group, which runs Tolo, received the order by the ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice, which stressed in the missive that this was “a final verdict and not up for discussion.”
Other Afghan media houses also reported receiving the notice.
Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of United States troops in August last year, the hardline Islamist group has overturned the rights of women in various ways from preventing girls from attending high school and segregating public space to banning women from traveling alone without a male companion.
The Taliban at first pledged to preserve women’s rights in Afghanistan but recent measures are increasingly in line with the strict policies the group introduced during its previous rule of the country between 1996-2001, when women were forced to remain at home without the option to work or study.
The ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice is behind many of these moves, being an institution which was very active during the first Taliban regime but was shut down following the US invasion and the subsequent two decades.
After the Islamists seized power on Aug. 15, the ministry was reinstated in place of the now-extinct ministry of women. EFE