Female TV Anchors to wear headscarf - Saudi Arabia

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Friday, 20 February 2015 09:36

Female television anchors in Saudi Arabia may soon have to follow a uniform conservative dress code requiring them to cover their heads.

The king’s advisory body, the Shoura Council, is reviewing a proposal from General Commission for Audiovisual Media calling for a conservative dress code for women when appearing in the media, according to Al Arabiya.

Ibrahim Abu Abat, one of the men who wrote the proposal, told the Shoura Council that women should wear a headscarf on air to uphold the kingdom’s standards.

“It is embarrassing to not be the best representation of Islam,” he said.

“Saudi women must appear with their respectable hijab so we can have a Saudi media that truly represents our beliefs and values,” he added.

Screen grab of Budoor Ahmad, a presenter with Saudi-Arabian state-owned news station Al Ekhbariya appears wearing a tradition black abaya with a blue stripe

However, the head of the council’s media committee Ahmad Al-Zilaie said the Shoura is still reviewing the proposal and nothing has been approved yet. He added if the council approves the proposal, the commission will have control over all media channels in Saudi Arabia.

“That may pose as a problem as media must be as diverse as possible and it is a very sensitive matter to have one party direct the media.

“I personally prefer moderation and don’t really have anything to say about the proposal,” he said.

Earlier, a female Saudi television presenter sued an Arab satellite channel for what she claimed was discrimination and breach of contract after being fired on the first day of her job for not being deemed pretty enough to appear on screen.

She claimed that when she reported for work at the station, her boss told her that she could not appear on TV because her looks were not good enough.

The yet-to-be-identified presenter claims she had been contracted by the Arab satellite channel in Riyadh.

The presenter further alleged that the director had been rude to her, abused her verbally and categorically refused to allow her on screen.

She was, however, offered off-screen positions including work as a secretary or assistant to the news team, but the presenter refused them. The director then sacked her.

The case is set to go on trial in a court in Riyadh.

Last month, a female member of the Shura Council, Noora Al Adwan had also brought up this issue regarding the dress code. She claimed the female presenters are harming the country’s reputation by not wearing their national dress and by applying too much makeup. She also proposed fines of SR10 million to those who do not abide by the rule.

These remarks were rejected by the furious Saudi TV presenters who claimed this to be an intrusion in their personal lives.

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