Censorship in Iran

Censorship in Iran is the limiting or suppressing of the publishing, dissemination, and viewing of certain information in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The majority of such censorship is implemented or mandated by the Iranian government.

Censored content often includes information that relates to pornography, certain news sources and certain religious content.

Censored media include essentially all capable of reaching an even marginal audience, including television, print media, radio, film, museum and gallery exhibits, and the Internet.[1] Most forms of media are vetted for acceptability by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Reporters Without Borders ranks Iran's press situation as "very serious", the worst ranking on their five-point scale.[2]

Subject matter and agenda

Censorship in Iran encompasses a wide range of subject matter. The agendas behind such censorship are varied; some are stated outright by Iranian government itself and some are surmised by observers inside and out of the country.


Censorship in Iran is largely seen as a measure to maintain the stability of the country. Censorship helps prevent unapproved reformist, counter-revolutionary, or religious proponents, peaceful or otherwise, from organizing themselves and spreading their ideals. In 2007, for example, five women were charged with "endangering national security" and sentenced to prison for collecting over a million signatures supporting the abolishment of laws discriminating against women.[3]

Some of the topics explicitly banned from discussion in the media by the Supreme National Security Council include Iran's economic troubles, the possibility of new international sanctions targeted at Iran's nuclear program, negotiations with the United States regarding Iraq, social taboos, unrest among Iran's ethnic minorities, and the arrests in 2007 of Haleh Esfandiari, Kian Tajbakhsh and Ali Shakeri.[3][4]


See also: Media of Iran

Two notable crackdowns on the Iranian press occurred on 7-11 August 1979, early in the Islamic Revolution when the Khomeini forces were consolidating control and dozens of non-Islamist newspapers were banned under a new press law banning "counter-revolutionary policies and acts." [5]

Despite a ban on satellite television, dishes dot many Iranian rooftops and people have access to dozens of Persian-language channels, including the Voice of America, broadcasting a daily dose of politics and entertainment. 30 percent of Iranians watch satellite channels, but observers say the figures are likely to be higher.[6]

A number of unauthorised foreign radio services also broadcast into Iran on shortwave, and encounter occasional jamming by the Iranian government due to their controversial nature. Such services include a popular phone-in programme from Kol Israel (Voice of Israel), where callers must dial a number in Europe to be rerouted to the studio in Israel in order to protect against persecution for communicating with an enemy state.[7]

In March 2009, Amoo Pourang (Uncle Pourang), an Iranian children television show watched by millions of Iranian children three times a week on state TV was pulled off after a child appearing on the program called his pet monkey "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad", live on air.[8]


The agents of censorship are sometimes not official government employees, but religious organizations. In 2007, after student newspapers at Amirkabir University of Technology published articles suggesting that no human being—including Muhammad—could be infallible, eight student leaders were arrested and taken to Evin Prison.[3]

Internet Censorship in Iran

In the first decade of the 21st century, Iran experienced a great surge in Internet usage, and, with 20 million people on the Internet, currently has the second highest percentage of its population online in the Middle East, after Israel. When initially introduced, the Internet services provided by the government within Iran were comparatively open. Many users saw the Internet as an easy way to get around Iran's strict press laws.[9][10] In recent years, Internet service providers have been told to block access to pornographic and anti-religion websites. The ban has also targeted such popular social networking sites as Facebook and YouTube, as well as news sites.[6]

Banned media



Video games

See also


  1. Tait, Robert (4 December 2006). "Censorship fears rise as Iran blocks access to top websites". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  2. Reporters sans frontières - Internet - Iran RSF
  3. 1 2 3 MacFarquhar, Neil. (2007). "Iran Cracks Down on Dissent". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  4. Iran, Annual Report 2007 Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Reporters Without Borders
  5. Schirazi, The Constitution of Iran, Tauris, 1997 p.51
  6. 1 2 Media and internet Archived 20 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Yahoo!
  7. "Listening to Iran" Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2008)
  8. Robert Tait (11 March 2009). "Children's show falls foul of toy monkey called Ahmadinejad". The Guardian. London.
  9. Feuilherade, P. (2002.) "Iran's banned press turns to the net". BBC.com. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
  10. BBC News. (2003.) "Iran Steps Up Net Censorship". BBC. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
  11. لیلی نیکونظر (November 18, 2007). گزارش یک توقیف. Shahrvand-e Emrooz (in Persian). 2 (25): 12.
  12. Curiel, Jonathan (2004-02-11). "In Iran, nightclubs are banned and concerts are rare, but movies abound. The Fajr festival is the country's Cannes.". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
  13. "با حکمیت می‌شود مشکل به رنگ ارغوان را حل کرد". Cinemaema.com. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
  14. Farzian, Behzad (2004-05-06). "Call for ban on film that mocks Iran's mullahs". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
  15. "Iran bans US video game showing Tehran invasion". AFP. 28 November 2011.
  16. http://www.polygon.com/gaming/2012/9/19/3357600/arma-3-banned-in-iran
  17. http://en.trend.az/regions/iran/2067248.html
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