On Sunday, November 21, the Taliban issued a guideline to broadcasters prohibiting women from appearing in television soap operas and entertainment shows. It also requires female journalists and news presenters to wear headscarves. The latest guideline from the oppressive Islamic regime adds to the rapidly deteriorating women’s rights condition in Afghanistan.
The new guideline issued by the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice included eight directives. Aside from prohibiting the broadcast of shows involving women and making journalists wear head coverings, the guideline also prohibits broadcasting films that oppose Islamic laws and Afghan values.
Films that “promote foreign culture and values” are also prohibited. Films that include men exposing intimate body parts are also banned.
Since taking over the capital, Kabul, in August this year, the Taliban has slowly doubled back on its promise to uphold and respect women’s rights. In September, they announced that women could go back to universities but only in gender-segregated areas. In the same month they dissolved the Ministry of Women, they gave their office to the notorious Ministry of Virtue and Vice.
Kabul women who were defiant against the Taliban’s return were met with violence. A group of women who work in the government protested the policy on an all-male government employee and were beaten with whips and sticks.
The restrictions are slowly mounting; this time, additional restrictions are imposed on the airwaves.
The guideline also directs broadcasters to ensure that entertainment and comedy are not “based on insulting others, nor for the insult of human dignity and Islamic values.” This includes shows or any footage that depicts the prophets and companions.
Despite their initial statements to establish a more moderate appearance, the Taliban’s actions are starting to overwhelm their rhetoric.
During the regime’s first news conference, Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesperson, assured the world that women’s rights would be respected. “Women are going to be very active within our society,” Mujahid said.
Hujjatullah Mujaddedi, a member of a journalist organization in Afghanistan, said the new guideline is unexpected. Speaking to BBC, Mujaddedi claimed that the rules are impractical and can cause broadcasters to close if implemented.