CAIRO: A veiled anchorwoman read the news on Egypt’s state television for the first time on Sunday, reflecting a shift in official media since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent rise of Islamists.
Fatma Nabil made her first appearance on the Channel 1 midday broadcast, wearing a black suit and a cream-coloured scarf or hijab covering the hair and neck.
Until the revolution that toppled president Hosni Mubarak last year and brought a Muslim Brotherhood president to power, women in Islamic headscarves and particularly full-face veils had been kept firmly out of the media.
Women who wore hijab were allowed to work in Egypt’s Radio and Television Union as long as it was off-camera.
But new Islamist Information Minister Salah Abdel Maqsud told a private satellite channel on Saturday he could see no reason why a woman in hijab could not present the national news.
“Finally the revolution has reached” Egyptian media, Nabil told the Muslim Brotherhood’s daily newspaper, Freedom and Justice.
The 2011 uprising opened the way for the long-banned but powerful Brotherhood, as well as other Islamist movements, which won a crushing victory in parliamentary elections.
President Mohamed Morsi resigned from the Brotherhood — Egypt’s largest and most organised political force — when he was elected president in June.
Most Muslim women in Egypt wear the hijab, which covers the hair. The niqab, which covers the entire face, is also becoming more popular on the country’s streets.