Iran: Authorities warn about punishments for playing banned music in taxis
If taxi drivers play banned music in their taxis, it could lead to cancellation of their taxi permit and confiscation of their cars, warned a government official.
This was reported to Radio Free Europe by Golnaz Esfandiari.
Rasul Abbasi, the director-general for transportation and traffic coordination of Iran’s municipalities, told the Borna news agency that if taxi drivers play banned music in their taxis, they would be dealt with according to the law, which could lead to the cancellation of their taxi permit and confiscation of their cars. He said that the law in this regard has not been implemented for the past few years, and called on the managers of organisations supervising taxis in Iran to oversee the performance of their drivers.
Scepticism Radio Free Europe’s Radio Farda broadcaster Elahe Ravanshad asked a taxi driver in Tehran, Moshtaq, what he thinks about the director-general’s comments. The taxi driver replied:
“It is one of the most important human rights for one to be able to choose what he listens to and no one has the authority to determine that. What would one want to listen to in his free time, for instance, whether banned or not. Who is the one to actually decide what should be banned and what should not? On what basis is this determined?”
Moshtaq also said that he doesn’t believe officials can force taxi drivers not to play banned music in their cars.
“Obviously, it will not be effective. Such a law exists for drivers who are employed by government agencies, they’re not allowed to play banned music in their cars. But they do. When a driver wants to listen to his favorite music, he would do anything. A flash drive is most convenient for them as it doesn’t take more space than a key; they would connect it to the stereo in their car anytime they want and listen to their favorite music.”
Banned music Most forms of Western music and Iranian pop music are banned in Iran. Yet many Iranians listen to banned music and CDs of banned music, from rock to hip hop and Los Angeles-produced Iranian pop music, are widely available on the black market.