The Taliban forced female television presenters to cover their faces in Afghanistan. This resulted in women’s faces protesting on television, but their male colleagues as well on their side. Many presenters are now wearing mouth masks on television to show their disagreement with the new regulations.
In a protest dubbed #FreeHerFace on social media, Tolo News men wear face masks. By this they want to imitate the effect of the face veil that their female colleagues have to wear by the Taliban.
The Taliban’s Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has ordered all Afghan media outlets to wear masks. The ministry said that the decision is final and there is no room for discussion.
The decision follows a decree in early May requiring all women to cover their faces in public. Male relatives may also face fines or imprisonment if the women in their family do not comply. Many women in cities like Kabul, including TV presenters, protested this.
Lima Specali, 27, a news anchor at 1TV in Kabul, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that she heard the news of the Taliban’s latest decree when she arrived at work on Sunday morning. “Two members of the Taliban came to our office and said that the decision on the mandatory masks for female introductions should be implemented.”
During the nine months of Taliban rule, the presenter also had to replace her favorite colorful outfit with long dresses. You are disappointed and shocked by this extra hit. “I can’t breathe. I can’t get oxygen.” “We have to pronounce the words accurately. It is very difficult to read the news with a mask.”
The 29-year-old presenter, who declined to be named for security reasons, told The Guardian that he and his other male colleagues had been wearing masks to go to work for the past two days. He says that when the Taliban leadership arrived at their office, the female colleagues clearly became frustrated. “Applying with a mask on is very annoying,” he says, “when I put a mask on, I feel like someone is holding me by the throat and I can’t speak.” He also says he and his colleagues will continue to protest until the Taliban reconsider their decision.
“tears are shed”
The Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice declared that wearing the hijab is “necessary”, and that the best type is the burqa and the black Arab veil.
Another presenter, who asked not to be named, said he had been wearing a mask for the past two days. He realizes how difficult it is to be a woman in a country like Afghanistan. “When I saw my colleague put a mask on her face and appear on TV, I shed tears,” the male broadcaster says. “Then I decided to put on a mask myself and pretend.”
Sahar Fawatat, an Afghan feminist activist working with Human Rights Watch, told the Guardian: “Male journalists were wearing face masks. It’s a great job. It’s one of the few cases where Afghan men do something symbolic, because all the resistance and protests against the headscarf so far made by women.”
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