An unidentified journalist recently broke from Saudi tradition when she read the news on a Saudi TV channel called Al Ekhbariya without covering her face with a hijab, leading some conservative viewers to take to social media to condemn the station for the "transgression." Saudi radio and TV spokesperson Saleh Al Mughailif tells the Al Tawasul news site via Gulf News that the woman was reading from a studio in Britain, and adds, "She was not in a studio inside Saudi Arabia, and we do not tolerate any transgression of our values and the country's systems."
The country is in a state of transition, with positions on women's rights starkly divided, reports Gulf News. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz appointed 30 women to the Shura Council in 2013, and the labor ministry recently suggested more women work in the private sector, such as in retail. Women appearing on TV news channels is fairly new, while women appearing uncovered reading the news on state TV is unheard of. Women aren't allowed to drive and need a male guardian's approval to travel outside of the country, access certain medical treatments, or get a higher education, reports the New York Daily News. The Saudi spokesman says the incident will not happen again. (One Saudi teen wore a hijab while competing in the Olympics in 2012; her father threatened not to let her compete if she didn't.)