All dramas, soap operas and entertainment shows featuring women are banned, according to government guidelines issued to broadcasters on Sunday.
The country’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued eight directives on what is allowed to broadcast, in the first restrictions of this type imposed on the country’s media network.
Between directives, news anchors must now wear veils on the screen. Similarly, men on screen are required to wear “appropriate clothing”, although the guidelines do not specify what type of clothing is considered “appropriate.”
The ministry added that films that oppose Islamic law and Afghan values should not be broadcast, nor should foreign and domestic films that “promote foreign culture and values.”
The rules also state that entertainment and comedy programs “must not be based on insulting others” or “insulting human dignity and Islamic values.”
Finally, television programs depicting “prophets and companions” should not be broadcast, he said.
Under the previous Taliban government, in power from 1996 to 2001, television was banned, as were most other media.
Monday’s tough new media rules come despite promises by the Taliban that this time they would be more moderate in the exercise of power.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in mid-August when the United States and Western allies withdrew their forces. Women and girls were quickly instructed to stay home from work or school, and restrictions on television appearances further limit women’s freedoms under the new regime.
When a group of women protested the announcement of the all-male government in Kabul in September, Taliban fighters beat them with whips and sticks.
But the latest media ruling by the Taliban shows that the presence of women in public life remains precarious.