Female journalists decry Taliban’s new restrictions on presenters

File Photo.

Female journalists criticised Taliban for recent restrictions imposed on female presenters in Afghanistan, arguing that these measures are part of a broader effort by the Taliban to marginalize women within the media sector, thereby increasing the pressures faced by women in this field.

On Tuesday, the Taliban minister of vice and virtue convened a meeting with heads of media outlets in Kabul to outline the new restrictions.

According to two individuals present at the meeting, the Taliban minister decreed that female presenters’ foreheads and faces must not be visible on television.

Heather Barr from the Women’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch criticized the policy on X, stating, “The ‘appearance guidelines’ are quite clear—the Taliban demand the erasure of women from the media.”

Furthermore, female journalists have reported that these restrictions have exacerbated the challenges they face in their professional environments. Hawa Yousufi, a journalist, shared her personal struggles, noting, “Every day, I face increasing restrictions. I can’t fulfill my duties because the Taliban’s stringent policies dampen my motivation. I’m in a precarious position and unable to navigate these new limitations.”

Nahid Amini, another media professional, appealed to the Taliban to ease these constraints. “We were already encountering numerous obstacles; please don’t impose additional restrictions,” she implored.

Media watchdogs have observed that Afghan media organizations have been severely affected by the Taliban’s stringent policies. The Afghanistan Journalist Center (AFJC) highlighted that the Taliban’s edicts have not only pressured journalists and media outlets but also led to censorship within the country.

The Ministry of Vice and Virtue has issued a warning to media leaders: if female presenters fail to adhere to these guidelines, all female employees will face a ban on working in the media as decreed by the Taliban’s supreme leader.

Reporters Without Borders reports that since the Taliban’s ascension to power in Afghanistan, approximately 8,000 of the 12,000 journalists have ceased working in the industry, with women constituting 80 percent of those who have left.