Mumbai: In a new set of guidelines, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice of Afghanistan’s new Taliban government on Sunday ordered television channels to stop airing shows featuring women.
Female anchors and presenters have been ordered to wear hijabs on screen. Earlier this year, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice ‘replaced’ the Women’s Affairs Ministry. As per the new rules, films and dramas can no longer feature female actors.
Reportedly, the new guidelines also prohibit TV channels from showing men who are not covered from chest to knee. Satirical programmes or comedy and entertainment show that insult religion has also been forbidden. The group has defended the move, stating that it is intended to curb ‘immorality’ and counter visuals that go against Sharia principles.
In September, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs was abolished, and its buildings were handed over to the reinstated Ministry of Vice and Virtue. The latter incidentally had been responsible for some of the worst atrocities against women during their previous reign.
In the past, the Taliban had violently enforced curbs against women, beating them for being dressed ‘immodestly’ or venturing outside without a male guardian and barring girls from being educated past primary school. There had also been a crackdown on music, dancing and other forms of entertainment.
The Taliban had initially said women should not go in to work for their own safety, with officials insisting that they would be allowed once proper segregation could be implemented.
The acting Mayor of Kabul had said that municipal jobs held by women would be filled by men. Many women remain barred from returning to work to date.
After the US Military left Afghanistan, the Taliban took over the reins of the Afghan government in mid-August after a multi-decade war. However, they repeatedly assured that the formation of an inclusive administration will be better than their previous period in power from 1996-2001.
Despite insisting they will rule more moderately this time around, the Taliban have already introduced rules for what women can wear at university, and beaten and harassed several Afghan journalists despite promising to uphold press freedoms.