Saudi Arabia: Female British TV Presenter Becomes The First Woman To Read News Without A Veil


Significant: Saudi news sites suggested it was the first time a presenter has read a bulletin without wearing a veil or headscarf on a state-owned news channel. The newsreader was broadcasting in Arabic from London

A newsreader has caused a stir in Saudi Arabia by shunning traditional Islamic dress to deliver a bulletin ‘bare-headed’. The presenter was broadcasting from the London studio of Al Ekhbariya, a state-owned news channel which featured the Kingdom’s first female newsreader when it launched a decade ago.

Women often appear on Saudi TV without wearing headscarves or veils, but the appearance was thought by many to be the first by a newsreader on a government-owned station.

The bulletin last week prompted a string of reactions on Twitter and news stories on Saudi websites.

A Twitter hashtag in Arabic circulated which translated roughly as #NewsEncouragesAdornments with one user, @HoNABIL, branding the channel ‘Zionist enemies of religion’.Another, @maysaaX, remarked that it was a ‘psychological jolt’ for the conservative country.

Several other users commented on how unusual the sight was, and some welcomed it as a step forward for personal freedom and women’s rights.

Clips and stills circulating online showed the newsreader in two outfits, suggesting she had opted not to wear a headscarf or veil for at least two bulletins.

But the channel has disappointed those who hoped it was becoming more liberal, releasing a promise that the incident will not happen again.

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