Taliban prohibits women from featuring in TV dramas

Taliban orders Afghan TV channels to stop broadcasting dramas with women actors
2 min read
22 November, 2021
The Taliban have issued new eight-point guidelines to Afghan TV channels banning women from appearing in dramas and ordering female broadcasters to wear a headscarf on-screen.
Women news anchors have been ordered to wear headscarves on air [source: Getty]

The Taliban have ordered Afghan TV channels to stop broadcasting dramas featuring women actors. 

Taliban's ministry for promotion of virtue and prevention of vice, tasked with imposing ideas of "morality" after the insurgents seized control of the capital in August, issued the guidelines for media on Monday sparking confusion among journalists, according to reports. 

The guidelines demand female journalists and presenters wear headscarves on-screen and banned films deemed to violate the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic laws. 

The Taliban ministry said the regulations were aimed at countering "immorality” and videos "against the principles of Sharia [Islamic] and Afghan values". 

"Foreign and locally produced movies that promote foreign culture and traditions in Afghanistan and promote immorality should not be broadcast," it said. 

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Comedy and entertainment shows that appear to insult religion or are deemed to offend Afghans have been prohibited. 

Any footage showing men exposing "intimate" parts of their bodies were also prohibited. 

A representative of journalists in Afghanistan, Hujjatullah Mujaddei, told the BBC that the new restrictions were not practical with some of the rules vague or subject to interpretation.

For example, the guidelines do not specify what type of head covering female broadcasters should wear. 

Mujaddei said that broadcasters could be forced to close if the guidelines are enforced. 

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A series of harsh "morality" orders were imposed when the Taliban was last in power from 1996 to 2001. 

Women could not leave their home unless accompanied by a male guardian and girls could not receive an education past primary school. 

Rights groups slammed the orders for violating fundamental freedoms and human rights. 

The 2021 Taliban have tried hard to project a new image of reform and moderation, saying they would allow women and girls to go to work and school.  

However, girls were instructed to stop attending school after the August takeover, and many have still not returned to the classroom. 

After the TV regulations were issued, a female Afghan journalist posted on Twitter Sunday: "Taliban's religious ministry states the new regulations against women today. Taliban didn't change #DoNotRecogniseTaliban."