Watch: Unveiled Saudi anchorwoman causes controversy

'We do not tolerate any transgression of our values' says TV official

Image Credit:
An unveiled anchor appears on Saudi state TV, causing controversy in the kingdom. Credit: YouTube
18 Gulf News

Dubai: A Saudi television official has moved to end a growing controversy caused by the appearance of an unveiled anchorwoman during a news broadcast on state television.

“She was a correspondent reading the news from a studio in Britain,” Saleh Al Mughailif, the spokesperson for the Saudi radio and television, said, referring to the woman’s appearance on Al Ekhbariya news channel.

“She was not in a studio inside Saudi Arabia and we do not tolerate any transgression of our values and the country’s systems,” he said, quoted by Al Tawasul news site.

Watch the clip below.

Saleh Al Mughailif added that all measures would be taken to ensure there is no repeat of the incident.

Social networks in the Saudi kingdom largely commented on the unprecedented sight of an unveiled woman reading the news on Saudi national television.

While several comments condemned the transgression of deep-anchored traditions that reflect the character of Saudi society, others said that the issue should not be overblown and that women without head veils often appeared on television, although not to read the news.


Hafez, a blogger, said that the unveiled anchorwoman was “a test to gauge people’s reactions to the sight of women without head covers on Saudi national television news.”

Saudi society has been divided over the possibility of granting women more rights, including the right to drive cars.

A decision by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to appoint 30 women to the Shura Council has become a landmark in the status of women in the country while a labour ministry decision to encourage more women to take up jobs in the private sector, especially in retail shops, has overcome stiff resistance from conservative forces.

Saudi state television often airs foreign programmes and television shows featuring unveiled women. Women in live programming and those appearing in in-house content do however wear the hijab.

The hijab is more strictly enforced in some parts of the kingdom than others. The coastal city of Jeddah is known to be less rigid than the capital Riyadh in its social norms and the wearing of the veil, which the religious police are tasked with enforcing.

Multi-billionaire Saudi Prince and businessman Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal does not enforce the hijab in the offices of his Kingdom Holding business empire. It is reportedly one of the few places in the kingdom where women roam freely without the veil.


  • Ali

    Aug 5, 2014 7:14

    The vast majority of Saudi men have already seen unveiled ladies in theinternet and won´t be too shocked.

  • Nassir

    Aug 5, 2014 6:56

    do not confuse the culture of some weak and inferior men with thegreatness of Islam! this woman has done nothing wrong. Anyone who has anissue with her, needs to have a check up! if you are a strong man, andreally love Allah the way our Prophet did, then you wont objectify womenas such. get a hold of yourselves. I salute her and any woman who ismodest like her. Hejab is NOT compulsory. It should be purely by choice.Live and Let Live. may Allah bless us all.

  • Rob Whatman

    Aug 5, 2014 6:46

    This newsreader was reporting from a studio in the United Kingdom. Thelaw in that country does not require anyone to wear any form of hijab ifthey do not wish to, and to question the nature of what hijab means. Italso allows you to wear any form of hijab if you so wish. The feelingsof her Saudi television employers, and the Saudi public, do not comeinto it. She is protected under British religious discrimination laws,equality laws and fair employment laws, in her right to carry out herjob without harassment or fear of dismissal. The same ones that wouldprotect her should she wear hijab and be threatened or be dismissed forit. Any move by her employers to alter her job description to take heroff-air or to attempt dismissal proceedings will result in a costlylegal battle that will lave her as the victor. It would be a shame, asa teacher who has recently encouraged a young girl in my class in herdesire to wear a headscarf at school to share her culture and share itwith her young friends, all of whom were interested and supportivedespite not being Muslim, if the Saudi state tried to deny the legalfreedoms of residents of another country.

  • Kabeer

    Aug 5, 2014 5:57

    @Mohammad Al-Baker : - if what Mr Hamid said is not aissue then why is it in headline. Islam is for entire humanity but mostof the Saudi people follows deen strictly then others in any parts of the world. May Allah guide us onto straight path.

  • Morgan

    Aug 5, 2014 3:46

    It is not for women to cover up because "Men can't control theirdesires" If a man cannot overcome his desires then he is no betterthan a beast. Why should women suffer for man's problem? Should theroles be reversed I doubt the same would be expected of us. If thisshould give you pause, deal with it and strive to be a real man capable ofaccepting strong women.

  • Adil

    Aug 5, 2014 3:30

    Dont confuse Saudi Culture with Islam. Respect culture Respect Islam.

  • Abhinav

    Aug 5, 2014 3:18

    If people have a problem with this unveiled women, stop watching Western TV channels and Movies. Do not be a hypocrite by criticizinghere and practicing something else.

  • Mohammad Al-Baker

    Aug 5, 2014 2:21

    @ dear Hamid Hussain, My brother, Gulf News has been fair in publishingall points of views. Case in point, mine and yours, and frankly, nonehas been anti-Islamic! Please stop imposing your belief on others,because that will only backfire and results will be people leaving thefaith in masses. I have been blessed with 5 children. 2 boys and 3daughters. My wide and middle daughter CHOOSE to wear Hijab, and we area tolerant family, a proud Muslim family. I never forced or expected anyof them to do so. it is their choice, and my other 2 daughters aremodest and indeed good people. Please brother, stick to the faith andnot interpretations of sort. Thank you

  • sridhar

    Aug 5, 2014 2:07

    before civilization we had no clothes to was an issue...nowwe have enough to wear...and it is still an issue....we love to createproblems out of anything and like to keep ourselves busy trying to sortthem out...

  • abdul Rafeek

    Aug 5, 2014 1:25

    This hijab not only in saudi arabia its compulsory all the Muslimsaround the world so i don't think there is any special requirement insaudi arabia

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Latest Comment

The vast majority of Saudi men have already seen unveiled ladies in theinternet and won´t be too shocked.


5 August 2014 19:21jump to comments