It was hardly the first time that IRIB has made headlines with its peculiar censorship methods. Female fans with outfits deemed un-Islamic have been cut from live volleyball coverage for years. The cuts are sometimes so frequent that viewers are left practically incapable of following games. These censorship practices have been a constant topic of criticism as well as jokes over Persian-language social media.
While Reformists in Iran have been critical of the IRIB management for years, the state broadcaster’s controversial practices have now even sparked reactions from Principlists. In a March 31 editorial, the conservative website Tabnak, which is close to former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander and Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, criticized IRIB’S approach as “divisive” and producing “neither the first nor the last” of such errors. But why does the Iranian state broadcaster create such trouble for itself and the entire Islamic Republic? The answer seems to be poor management making hasty decisions without considering the consequences.
In a Jan. 2 editorial, conservative journalist Mohammad Mohajeri wrote, “IRIB’s media literacy and quality of human resources and management are much lower than the average of other media outlets in the country. Thanks to the constitution, it has no real competition, as the facilities made available to all other media outlets in the country do not equal a tenth of what IRIB has.” He added that considering the legally enforced lack of competition, its poor quality should be no surprise.