Taliban denies women the right to express and work, but diplomatically

The Taliban has issued its first directive to the country’s broadcasting network, denying broadcasting rights to soaps and serials featuring women.

The two-decade-old fear returns to Afghanistan – women oppression in the name of religion and Sharia. Since the power shift, international communities have unanimously put pressure on the Taliban against restraining the right to live for women.

Though initially, the Taliban reeled under pressure but of late, they have started putting out restraining orders on the public life of Afghani women. For instance, the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has issued eight directives to the broadcasters, stating the new media guidelines. According to those, broadcasters cannot broadcast soaps and serials featuring women.

Afghani women denied public life

Due to the directive, Afghani women will be restricted from appearing in television dramas as broadcasters are asked not to air soaps and dramas featuring women. They were also asked not to air films in opposition to Islamic law and Afghan values. Foreign and domestic films that “promote foreign culture and values” are also barred.

Three months into power, the Taliban has declared a sleuth of measures that rolled back the freedom to live and express. But the recent directives issued to the country’s broadcasters are the first of their kind imposed on the media network.

The directives also made wearing headscarves by women news presenters on screen mandatory. Similarly, men on screen should wear “proper clothes,” although the guidelines did not specify the word “proper”.

Not only soaps and serials, but the directive also stated entertainment and comedy programs should not insult others nor “for the insult of human dignity and Islamic values.” They have restricted TV shows depicting the prophets and companions from broadcasting.

Taliban slowly rolling back to 1996

Soon after they came to power, the Taliban issued directives to girls from the sixth standard not to attend schools till they made arrangements for safe transportation facilities. These incidents reminded the world of Afghanistan in 1996, where female education was restricted on similar grounds. Transportation facilities to schools for girls never became safe in those days. Working women were quickly instructed to stay indoors. Women working in municipalities were asked to stay home unless their positions couldn’t be filled by men.

As per the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law, all forms of entertainment and television was prohibited in 1996. The issuance of directives to the broadcasters on Sunday hints at its repetition. Who will play the female characters? If the soaps and serial continue without a woman, it will impact the existing gender imbalance as television is one of the best society influencers.

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