A Saudi Arabian TV presenter has fled the country after an investigation was launched following claims she violated the kingdom’s dress code for women while reporting on the female driving ban being lifted.
The General Commission for Audiovisual Media announced the investigation after a video circulated on social media showing presenter Shereen al-Rifaie, who works for the Al-Aan TV station from the United Arab Emirates filming a report on Saudi women driving in the kingdom in an outfit deemed ‘indecent’. In the clip, the presenter is wearing a white abaya, a traditional Muslim robe-like dress which reveals white trousers and a top underneath. She also had a loose scarf, but her dark locks could be seen flowing down her back.
As soon as the news broke, Ms. Al-Rifaie posted a photo of a plane ticket and her passport on Snapchat, indicating that she had left the country.
The commission confirmed in a Twitter post that the investigation will proceed despite al-Rifaie leaving the country.
She has since dismissed the accusations, telling the Saudi news website Ajel: “I was wearing decent clothes, and God will reveal the truth of what has been said about me.” In Saudi Arabia, there is legally imposed a dress code, and all women, both foreign and local, are required to wear an abaya in public. Muslim women are expected to wear a headscarf or hijab to cover their hair, but foreigners are not legally required to do so.