Bare-headed TV anchor sparks anger
The unprecedented appearance of a female newsreader on Saudi state television without a headscarf has caused a scandal in the lunatic Islamic state.
The unnamed anchor, who has previously worn a hijab in clips circulated online, was reading a bulletin from London for the Al Ekhbariya channel.
Strict Islamic dress codes in Saudi Arabia require women to dress “modestly” – usually with headscarves, veils and full-length abayas.
While women do sometimes appear without head coverings in programmes broadcast by state-controlled channels, newsreaders are never seen without the hijab.
Saleh Al Mughailif, a spokesman for Saudi radio and television, told Al Tawasul news the correspondent was reading the news from the broadcaster’s British studio.
She was not in a studio inside Saudi Arabia and we do not tolerate any transgression of our values and the country’s systems.
He promised that all measures would be taken to ensure there is no repeat of the incident after many viewers expressed outrage.
Al Ekhbariya, which has offices in the Middle East, Europe and America, is known for its use of female anchors after having its maiden broadcast in 2004 presented by the country’s first female news presenter.
Social networks in the Saudi kingdom largely commented on the unusual sight of an unveiled woman reading the news, Gulf News reported, and some condemned it as transgression of national traditions.
Others said the issue should not be blown out of proportion or welcomed it as a sign of growing women’s rights.