Egypt Lifts Ban on Veiled Television Anchors

September 3, 2012  

Fatma Nabil became the first news anchorwoman to read the news on Egyptian state television, appearing on air Sunday wearing an off-white hijab, or headscarf.

Under the rule of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, veiled news anchors were not permitted to appear on state TV, as the government wanted to portray a vision of “modernity.”

The ban was lifted by Salah Abdel-Maqsoud, Egypt’s information minister and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, following Mubarak’s overthrow in the bloody 2011 uprising, and Mohammed Morsi’s rise to power.

“Finally! The revolution has reached Maspero,” said Nabil, referring to the headquarters of the state TV and broadcast building, which was the site of massive demonstrations during the uprising that toppled Mubarak.

Nabil was a former anchor on a Muslim Brotherhood channel, but was barred for appearing on air wearing the headscarf.

She said the uprising provided her with the green light” to come back to state television.

The ban on veiled anchors was issued in 2002 by the then-information minister, Safwat El-Sherif, who was arrested shortly after the Mubarak regime fell, and faces corruption charges. 

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