There has been controversy in Saudi Arabia after a female newsreader chose to forego traditional Islamic dress to deliver a bulletin on a state-owned news channel.
The woman was broadcasting out of the London-based studio of network Al Akhbariya, the first channel to ever feature a female newsreader in Saudi Arabia.
However, according to the Daily Mail, the incident may mark the first time a woman has appeared bare-headed on a Saudi state channel.
While women often appear without headdresses on Saudi Arabian television, they typically feature on internationally-produced shows.
A spokesperson for the channel told Gulf News that the woman “was not in a studio inside Saudi Arabia” and was merely “a correspondent reading the news from a studio in Britain”, adding that “we do not tolerate any transgression of our values and the country’s systems”.
While the spokesperson assured media the incident would not happen again, social media commentators have suggested that it was a deliberate ploy to gauge the audience’s acceptance of bare-headed women on television.
The battle for equal rights in Saudi Arabia has been ongoing, with female protestors making headlines last year in their efforts to remove a law preventing all women from driving.