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Monday, December 11, 2023

Iranian regime tightens control over entertainment media


The Iranian regime has taken yet another step to tighten its grip on entertainment content in line with its policy of imposing religious restrictions on the population.

The state broadcaster last week gained full control over the content broadcast by private streaming services following a decision by Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolution Council.

Some filmmakers and actors have warned that complete control of the services by the national broadcaster (IRIB) could end the careers of actors and filmmakers long banned by the state broadcaster.

IRIB is tightly controlled by the office of Iran’s dictator Ali Khamenei and has lost viewers for its heavy religious programming and heavily censored news. Critics say it is little more than a propaganda tool The government provides huge subsidies without any responsibility.

Streaming services such as Filimo, an online video-on-demand (VOD) service similar to Netflix, are very popular in Iran, which has no private television networks. These services provide independent and sometimes dissident filmmakers and artists the opportunity to showcase their work.

Hardliner Payman Jebelli, head of state broadcaster IRIB, called for Filipinos to be blocked on the internet in a letter to President Ebrahim Raisi in January. Limo.

IRIB chief Payman Jebelli (left) with his hardline deputy Vahid Jalili

As evidence of Philimo’s responsibility, Jebelli cited screenings of the “Crash” series. Because one of its main actors, Hamid Farohnezad, left Iran around the same time to join the opposition, supporting the revolution and the return of former Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi.

Jebelli said Wednesday that his organization is working on regulations to oversee the work of streaming services and actors.

The growing popularity of such services and satellite television has led to a significant decline in the ratings of IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization) due to its ratings. Political and Cultural Censorship. The head of the sprawling organization, which employs about 40,000 people, was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The committee’s decision, adopted at a meeting chaired by President Ebrahim Raisi on June 20, allows the IRIB to impose its own level of censorship on movies or music played by the services, even preventing filmmakers from and actors making films it does not endorse. Approval for these streaming services shows.

So far, the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture is in charge of censoring content played by private streaming platforms, be it movies or other programs as well as music, in cooperation with SATRA (Iran’s Regulatory Authority for Audiovisual Media). Affiliated with IRIB.

Critics argued that SATRA’s involvement was illegitimate.

The Council itself is the supreme body that formulates policies and decisions related to cultural, educational and research activities within the general policy framework of the system, and its decisions are legally binding. Most of the members of the committee are appointed by Khamenei.

in June, Government film watchdog warns producers Their films could be banned if they hired actresses who removed their hijabs in public to support the anti-mandatory hijab movement and anti-government protests. Some members of the entertainment industry have also faced penalties including bank account freezes and flight bans.

In September 2022, protests erupted in Iran after a young woman, Mahsa Amini, was arrested in the street by the notorious “morality police” and allegedly fatally wounded in the head during her arrest. Blow, died in hospital.


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