Television presenters have mostly gone headscarf-free on Egypt’s state-run Channel 5. The fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime – and a weekend court ruling – may soon change that.
For half a century, female presenters working for Egypt's state-run Channel 5 were expected to leave their headscarves at home. That could soon change.
On Sunday, a court in Alexandria challenged the decades-old policy, arguing that the headscarf is a symbol of decency, and that banning women from wearing it violates their personal freedom. More specifically, the ruling overturns a decision made in 2008 by then Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi, who banned Channel 5 presenter Lamiyaa al-Amir from appearing on television in a headscarf.
Egypt's state TV is the oldest state-run television in the Middle East. At the time of its establishment in 1960, no female presenters wore headscarves. As time went on, the headscarf became much more common among Muslim women. Still, state TV refused to let presenters wear it, prompting complaints from religious and conservative forces, who used the ban to attack the regime of former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, who fell from power a year ago.
The rare case of a veiled presenter was in the early 1990s with Kariman Hamza. She fought a legal battle against former Information Minister Safwat al-Sherif, who was in charge of national TV from 1982 to 2004.
Read the full article at Al-Masry Al-Youm
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