Veiled newscaster raises concerns in Egypt

Sept. 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM
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CAIRO, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The appearance of a female anchor wearing a headscarf on state television raises concerns about women's rights in Egypt, opponents of the new look said.

Such apparel for female newscasters had been banned by the former secularist government of Hosni Mubarak, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Fatma Nabil presented a story on the drafting of Egypt's new constitution while wearing a cream-colored headscarf during Sunday's noon news broadcast.

The country's new information minister announced Saturday that more female news presenters wearing headscarves would soon appear on state television.

Some women saw the change as a mixed blessing.

Sally Zohney, a member of an Egyptian women's rights movement, said that under the Mubarak regime many veiled women had the right qualifications but weren't allowed to appear on television, the Times reported.

At the same time, Zohney feared the decision reflected changes by the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government that could limit the personal freedoms of women who did not wear headscarves.

Nabil, the newscaster, said her debut was "a historic day" for her, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Nabil has a bachelor of arts degree in English and has worked in state television since 2002. She became chief news editor in 2005, but was never allowed to appear on-air because of her insistence on wearing headscarves.

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