Photo: Sadai Banowan

Taliban bans female voices on TV and radio channels in Helmand province

Taliban’s Information and Culture Department in the southern Helmand province has warned media outlets, including TV and radio channels, against airing female voices.

Afghanistan Journalist Center (AFJC) said in a statement on Sunday that the Taliban decision was effective since July 23, barring women’s voices from any public broadcasts, including commercial ads.

The ban has also barred female journalists and reporters from working with international media outlets.

AJJC said that a prominent BBC Media Action program that broadcasted on health issues and the threat of explosives remnants of war by female presenters has been shut as a result of the ban.

The ban means that many local female journalists and reporters could lose their jobs.

AFJC has condemned this Taliban decision, calling it discriminatory towards women and against the principles of freedom of the media and expression.

The media watchdog has urged the Taliban authorities to lift the ban immediately.

Since their return to power, the Taliban have imposed severe restrictions on media, particularly aiming at women which has sparked fear of an irreversible return to their first rule in the 1990s.

The group has banned women from acting on TV, and female journalists and presenters are ordered to cover in burqa or not show up unless accompanied by a male chaperone. Local journalists who refuse to comply with the Taliban’s policies have been arrested, abused, or tortured.

Women have also been banned from universities and are not allowed to enter parks, gyms, beauty salons, or public baths.