"We were forced": Afghan women TV presenters cover faces on air
Women presenters on Afghanistan's leading news channels went on air yesterday with their faces covered, a day after defying a Taliban order to conceal their appearance on television.
Since seizing power last year, the Taliban have imposed a slew of restrictions on civil society, many focused on reining in the rights of women and girls to comply with the group's austere brand of Islam.
Earlier this month, Afghanistan's supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada issued a diktat for women to cover up fully in public, including their faces, ideally with the traditional burqa.
Wearing full hijabs and face-covering veils that left only their eyes in view, women presenters and reporters aired morning news bulletins across leading channels like TOLOnews, Ariana Television, Shamshad TV and 1TV.
"TOLOnews was compelled and we were forced to wear it," Sonia Niazi, a presenter with TOLOnews, told AFP.
TOLOnews director Khpolwak Sapai said the channel was "forced" to make its staff follow the order.
On Sunday, male journalists and employees of TOLOnews wore face masks in the channel's offices in Kabul in solidarity with women presenters, an AFP correspondent reported. Other women employees of the channel continued to work with their faces visible.