As part of new “religious directives”, broadcast this Sunday, the Taliban Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice called on Afghan televisions to no longer broadcast series showing women.

“Televisions must avoid showing soap operas and series in which women have played rose water,” said a document from the ministry to the attention of the media.

“It is not a question of rules, but of religious directives”

He also asks them to ensure that women journalists wear “the Islamic veil” on the screen, without specifying that it is a simple headscarf, already usually worn on Afghan televisions, or a more veil. covering. “It is not a question of rules, but of religious directives”, specified the spokesman of the ministry, Hakif Mohajir. Afghan televisions are also called upon to avoid programs “opposed to Islamic and Afghan values” as well as those which insult religion or “show the prophet and his companions”.

This is the first time that this ministry has attempted to regulate Afghan television since the Taliban took power in mid-August. During their first reign, from 1996 to 2001, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, in charge of ensuring the daily respect of the “Islamic values” of the population, was feared for its fundamentalism and the punishments it received. he was training. The Taliban had banned television, movies and all forms of entertainment deemed immoral.

Regression of women’s freedoms

People caught watching television were punished and their equipment destroyed, being in possession of a VCR was punishable by public flogging. For a while, it was even possible to see televisions hanging from streetlights. Overthrown in 2001, the Taliban returned to power last August in a country with a changed media landscape after 20 years of government backed by the West. During these two decades, the media sector exploded, dozens of private radio and television stations appeared.

They offered new opportunities to women, who were not allowed to work or study under the Taliban in the 1990s. Today, although showing a more moderate face, the Taliban still have not allowed many women to return to work in the public services. Girls’ classes in middle and high schools, as well as public universities, have yet to reopen in most of the country. At private universities, the Taliban demanded that female students be veiled. Their fighters also repeatedly beat journalists accused of covering demonstrations by “unauthorized” women.

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