Iran: Unusual sight of musical instruments on state tv

6 February 2014

On 1 February 2014, musical instruments were shown on Iranian state tv for the first time in three decades.


Tv-viewers in Iran found themselves rubbing their eyes in disbelief when a morning programme on state tv broadcast a group of musicians playing traditional Persian instruments, reported The Guardian. For many it was the first time they had seen such instruments on national television, because musical instruments have been banned on state tv for more than three decades.

The independent blog News and Noise wrote:

“In the following hours, the most popular social media were filled with thousands of screenshots of this “tiny revolution”. Enthusiastic comments and lots of international newspapers reported the news giving it an incredible impact worldwide. It was just a tiny revolution. Not only did the broadcast last for 10 seconds, a few hours later producer Gholamreza Bakhtiari blew away all hopes: “The footage of instruments which was aired, has nothing to do with a change in the approach or practice of IRIB, and it was just an unintentional mistake by us” (Fars News Agency).

All this happens in a moment where the “moderate” president Hassan Rouhani started to use Twitter to make some interesting statements about freedom of arts.

On January 8, Rouhani spoke during a meeting attended by a large number of artists and – even though it’s not clear who is really managing his account – his Twitter account reported the evening as follows: Art should be under the supervision of artists, not the Government–at the gathering of artists tonight at Vahdat Hall (The Iran Primer)”

Read more:

The Guardian – 23 January 2014:
Iran broadcaster breaks rule over musical instruments played on TV
Programme airs musicians playing instruments fuelling hopes of ban being lifted but broadcaster says it was mistake

News and Noise – 26 January 2014:
Persian instruments on TV!

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