The Taliban publishes guidelines for the media, banning shows with female actors

KABUL, November 23 (Reuters) – The Taliban administration has released a set of restrictions for Afghan media, including banning TV dramas that included female actors, and ordering female news hosts to wear “Islamic hijab”.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Cargo and Virtue set out nine rules this week, a spokesman for the Taliban administration said on Tuesday, which was largely centered on banning any media that violates “Islamic or Afghan values”.

Some edicts were specifically aimed at women, a move that was likely to raise concerns in the international community.

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“These dramas … or programs in which women have performed should not be broadcast,” the rules said, adding that female journalists in the air should wear “Islamic hijab” without defining what it meant.

Hadia (Center), 10, a 4th grade elementary school student, leaves school after a class in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 25, 2021. REUTERS / Zohra Bensemra / File Photo

Although most women in Afghanistan wear headscarves in public, the Taliban’s statements that women should wear “Islamic hijab” have often previously worried women rights activists, who say the term is vague and could be interpreted conservatively.

The rules received criticism from the international rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW), which said that media freedom was deteriorating in the country.

“The disappearance of any room for disagreement and worsening restrictions for women in media and the arts is devastating,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW, said in a statement.

Although Taliban officials have tried to publicly assure women and the international community that women’s rights will be protected since they took Afghanistan on August 15, many advocates and women remain skeptical.

Under Taliban’s previous rule, strict restrictions were placed on women’s ability to leave the house unless accompanied by a male relative, or to receive education.

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Report from the Kabul Bureau; further reporting by Jibran Ahmed in Peshawar; author by Charlotte Greenfield

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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