Iran: More than 20 musicians banned from radio




More than 20 musicians banned from radio

Government-owned radio stations in Iran have been ordered to stop broadcasting certain singers’ music and certain songs, reported Ilna and Iran Human Rights Voice.

The censorship list is reported to contain names of artists such as:

Ali Lahrasbi
Alireza Afshar
Alireza Assar
Alireza Eftakhari
Ehsan Khajeh-Amiri
Fataali Ovaisi
Feraydoun Aseraei
Hossein Zaman
Kambiz Afzali
Kouros Sarhangzadeh
Majid Akhshabi
Masoud Khadem
Mohammad Isfehani
Mohammad Nouri
Naser Abdullahi
Shahin Aryen
Shahram Amiri

Tug of war with the government
The Associated Press reported recently that Iranian artists are in tug of war with the government. Scheherezade Faramarzi reported from Beirut on 14 November 2009 that one of Iran’s greatest masters of traditional music, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, demanded state radio and TV stop broadcasting his music as a protest against the government. The state broadcaster complied.

According to Faramarzi, what pushed Shajarian into action was the government’s brutal crackdown on protests over the 12 June election that Shajarian and millions of other Iranians believe fraudulently gave a second term to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s political turmoil has raised a culture clash as hundreds of musicians, actors, filmmakers, poets and writers have spoken out against the government for its suppression of dissent and arrest of thousands.

The government has responded by accusing artists of falling prey to foreign “enemies” and by stepping up pressure for their work to toe its ideological line. More than 100 artists have had their works banned or have been prevented from traveling abroad. Others have been detained, reported The Associated Press

Toughest supression
Since its creation in 1979, the Islamic Republic has always kept a tight grip on artists’ work, but artists say the suppression in the post-election period has been among the toughest.

“It’s much greater now because of the stand most of the artists have taken against them,” said Shajarian. “For now, they’re moving very calmly. But in the future, I know there will be a confrontation between the artists and this government.”

Since the election, Shajarian and others have been making pointed messages with their art. In September, Shajarian sang ‘Zaban e Atash o Ahan’ (The language of Fire and Iron), based on a well-known poem in which he pleads: “Lay down your gun. Come, sit down, talk, hear. Perhaps the light of humanity will get through to your heart too.”

During his last tour of Europe in September, he sang ‘Brotherhood in Arms’, calling on Iranians to unite.

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Iran Human Rights Voice – 21 November 2009:

‘Broadcasting Certain Singers and Music Banned from Radio’

The Associated Press – 14 November 2009:

‘Iran artists in tug of war with government’

Dig deeper – 27 November 2009:

‘The Master Rebel’

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