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Saudi anchor sparks anger for appearing on air without hijab

Many are saying that it was an act of disrespect and indecency while others say it was a good sign for women's rights in the country.
By Aileen Graef   |   Aug. 6, 2014 at 6:19 PM   |   Comments

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- An unnamed reporter for Saudi Arabia's Ekhbariya channel caused a scandal when she appeared on television on July 15 to read a bulletin without a head covering.

Women can be seen on state television without wearing a hijab, but no female newscasters have ever been seen without one. Saleh Al Mughailif, a spokesman for Saudi radio and television, said the reporter was in the channel's London studio at the time of the broadcast.

"She was not in a studio inside Saudi Arabia and we do not tolerate any transgression of our values and the country's systems," said Mughailif. He added that the studio will take all the steps necessary to make sure the transgression does not reoccur after receiving backlash from viewers.

Saudi Arabia remains a very conservative country, despite some reforms. Dress codes are strictly enforced by mutawa, or religious police.

Despite the outcries of some, many social media users said they thought a female anchor without a headscarf was a step in the right direction for women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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