Iran’s Efforts to Control Its Media

Censorship did not work, so now the Iranian authorities encourage a twin-track culture, producing their own versions of popular media .  Two arenas are developing in parallel: the first is the official voice of the Islamic Republic; the second, less controlled, is allowed to deviate from the political and moral principles of the regime because the authorities can deny responsibility. It started out as a counter to the influence of imported western culture. Several singers emerged, copying the pop music style of Los Angeles (home to the largest Iranian community abroad), and mimicking, timidly at first, their Californian competitors. Some sounded the same as famous exiled singers, but performed poems with a mystic content. Then a second wave of more talented artists arrived. After a while their music and lyrics sounded exactly the same as those produced abroad, which the regime says spread corruption (Mofsedin fil arz, the expression the authorities use to describe “westernised” people). Pop and rock music, until recently illegal and produced underground, are also distributed through this semi-official network, although less widely (1).(which they can easily deny)

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