The Taliban have ordered female Afghan TV presenters and other women on screen to cover their faces while on air, BBC reported.
Media outlets were told of the decree on Wednesday, a religious police spokesman told BBC Pashto.
The ruling comes two weeks after all women were ordered to wear a face veil in public, or risk punishment.
Restrictions are being tightened on women — they are banned from traveling without a male guardian and secondary schools are shut for girls, BBC reported.
One female Afghan journalist working for a local TV station in Kabul, who did not want to be named, said she’d been shocked to hear the latest news.
“They are putting indirect pressure on us to stop us presenting on TV,” she told the BBC.
“Based on information received by Tolo news, the order has been issued to all media outlets in Afghanistan,” the news channel reported.
The decision is being widely criticised on Twitter, with many calling it another step by the Taliban to promote extremism.
“The world deploys masks to protect people from Covid. The Taliban deploys masks to protect people from seeing the faces of women journalists. For the Taliban, women are a disease,” one activist tweeted, BBC reported.
The private Shamshad news channel posted a photo of its news presenter wearing a mask, and other similar images are being shared on social media.