New Afghanistan media guidelines released by the Taliban this week ban television shows from featuring female actors and require women journalists to wear the Islamic hijab.
Taliban officials told media outlets that the edicts are not hard-and-fast rules per se, but merely guidelines to be kept in mind during transmissions.
The “guidelines” were laid out on Sunday by Afghanistan’s Ministry for the Prevention of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The edicts targeting women were among nine in total aimed at reigning in what the militant Islamic group deems immoral.
Other guidelines ban films or TV shows that are against Islam or Afghan values such as depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Another guideline deems depiction of male bodies, such as an unclothed torso, inappropriate, Reuters reported.
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The new rules on women in the media fly in the face of the Taliban’s reassurance to the world after it seized back control of the country that it would be more moderate and respect “women’s rights.”
“The Taliban’s new media regulations and threats against journalists reflect broader efforts to silence all criticism of Taliban rule,” said Patricia Grossman, associated Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “The disappearance of any space for dissent and worsening restrictions for women in the media and arts is devastating.”
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U.S. troops left Afghanistan on Aug. 30, a day ahead of the deadline that the Biden administration agreed to with the Taliban, officially drawing the country’s longest-ever conflict to an end.
Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report.