As a sign of solidarity, male TV anchors in Afghanistan have started to cover their faces after the Taliban forced their women colleagues to cover up on air.
On Thursday May 19, the Taliban announced that all women journalists must cover their face when presenting news on television.
Women presenters who do not comply with regulations can face up to three days of imprisonment.
While there was opposition from the women, by Sunday, most of the women seen on television had covered their faces as the Taliban told news agencies the decree was “non-negotiable”.
“We had an office meeting and had to accept the Taliban order, but decided that male colleagues should also wear masks and stand by female colleagues,” 1TV’s news anchor, Lema Spesali, told the Guardian.
Male staff from TOLO News, one of Afghanistan’s most popular and independent news channels, wore face masks from Sunday to Wednesday in solidarity of their women counterparts.
Video footage and images showed male TV anchors and staff wearing face masks while reporting the news on air.
Afghan women TV anchors have said they are struggling to perform their jobs properly.
“It’s okay that we are Muslims, we are wearing hijab, we hide our hair, but it’s very difficult for a presenter to cover their face for two or three hours consecutively and talk like that,” ToloNews presenter, Farida Sial, told the BBC.
In a prior decree earlier in May, the Taliban enforced dress codes on women presenters, which including wearing longer clothes to cover their bodies and wearing a hijab at all times.
As the Taliban restrictions increases, women presenters fear that the next step will be to take them off-air.