"One artist can create a video clip with a dancer, another is arrested for it. This was also the case with the ShabShanbeha festival, which hasn’t been held since. The arrival of the internet has changed the game, making it possible to develop a degree of musical culture in the Islamic Republic. Rock or metal musicians are still, moreover, considered by some authorities to be devil worshippers. Shahab also feels it is a shame that young musicians are not able to experience performing on stage more often: “Music schools allow us to organise concerts under the cover of their authorisations, but they are often so-called experimental concerts, in a small lounge, which only family and close friends can attend, and the acoustic conditions do not really allow us to replicate the real thing.”. It is a step forward, as Vaezi explains, because “you can’t choose the electric guitar or drums as your main instrument when you study music at university”. Different departments within the Ershad are responsible for interpreting what fits and w… 'Every day is a day of suffering': Former inmates describe mock executions, beatings and psychological "torture" in the notorious prison where several Australians have been held. Mr Rajabian said he would continue defying Iranian laws that banned free artistic expression. Iran is not a free society, but many aspects of life in Tehran are far less conservative than you might think. This story has been translated from French. This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. says a song by the famous Iranian rock band O-Hum. But this fairy tale is so prevalent and omnipresent, because the stories of those who have actually lived there are yet to be told. Iran has very strict censorship rules regarding women’s appearance, and which topics are permitted to be discussed openly. In the chain of command of internet censorship in Iran, FATA is the policing body that acts on information provided by the SCC and CCDOC. But Biden's day was all about rejecting Trumpism, Live: Indoor mask-wearing lifted in Greater Brisbane after no new cases, Donald Trump has pardoned the ex-husband of a Fox News host as his last act before leaving office, 22yo Amanda wrote a powerful poem to read at Joe Biden's inauguration. My song failed to obtain the necessary authorisations, as it was, apparently, too close a reflection of the current situation,” he explains. According to Kharrazi, it follows a cyclical pattern: eight years of reformists and there’s an opening in the world of cinema, theatre and music, then eight years of conservatives and there is another clamp down. During 14 years of communist rule, music in Afghanistan was heavily controlled by the Ministry for Information and Culture, while in the refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran all music was prohibited in order to maintain a continual state of … Last year, a popular social media movement called #dancingisnotacrime went viral, in protest of government censorship. 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In 2015, Mr Rajabian said he was again imprisoned, this time for two years during which he went on a hunger strike for 40 days. The poet of the time called on the Mongol ruler to take care of his people, whose living conditions were deteriorating. In Iran, if one band exceeds the limits, all the others pay the price. Excerpt from Chapter 8 in the report ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’, published by Article 19 in September 2006. "In the end, it all really depends on the individual and the connections you have that decide what you can and cannot do," she said. "We're somehow anonymous in our country," she said. "We're not free to do what we want, and we always have to present ourselves in a really restricted frame.". AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Partial or total internet blocking is becoming a regrettably common government response to protests or political upheaval, but the tactics used and the extent of the shutdowns vary. Heather Rastovac The Underground Music Scene in Urban Iran 63 position, as well as its religiously contested status, pop music was officially banned following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic form of government in Iran. Back then, playing rock was like selling drugs, it was hidden, often played in cellars or garages. Censorship mandated by the Ministry of Culture occurs in every aspect of life in Iran. Musicians in Iran and the Iranian diaspora continue to grow and strengthen their networks online while end users in Iran continue to develop and harness the means to evade filters in order to create and experience underground music online. The movement was sparked after 17-year-old Maedeh Hojabri confessed to crimes on Iranian state TV when authorities clamped down on her Instagram account, where she had posted videos of herself dancing without a head covering. Groups that manage to have a concert authorised throw all their money into it, only to see it cancelled at the last minute for no good reason. On the fourth floor of a rather chic building in central Tehran, the Khosh Honar music academy welcomes music lovers of all kinds. Even now, many groups in Iran are still part of the underground scene, which means that they have not been validated by the Ministry of Culture and Guidance and the concerts they organise are illegal. Nevertheless, despite all the measures designed to stifle music, it could not be eliminated from … Because of government restrictions and political issues, Ms Kafasha said there is no way to "show our art or make people familiar with what we do". "Music is our only weapon. Reported cases of internet censorship. literature, music, film, and the arts—it made for dispiriting reading. Unlikely as this now may seem, there was a … That same year, Iranian state TV broadcast apologies — which appeared to be filmed in prison — of several women, who were briefly detained for posting videos of themselves dancing on Instagram, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. "A strong women that dares to express herself individually suddenly becomes threatening. If they are known, they will have plenty of students, otherwise they will simply try to make ends meet: “It’s frustrating because instead of practising and developing our music, when we teach, we are constantly repeating the basics and, in the long run, we risk losing our skills. YouTubers of the world, unite! For him, it is the anti-establishment ideology behind rock that the authorities fear: “Unlike those who go to pop concerts, rock fans are more intellectual, there is a line of thought, and that scares them.”, Khorrami, meanwhile, explains that he has been teaching electric guitar for 10 years, and that 95 per cent of rock and metal musicians in Iran earn their living by teaching. The movement was sparked after 17-year-old Maedeh Hojabri confessed to crimes on Iranian state TV when authorities clamped down on her Instagram account, where she had posted videos of herself dancing without a head covering. Last year, a popular social media movement called #dancingisnotacrime went viral, in protest of government censorship. Composer Mehdi Rajabian has been dragged before an Iranian Revolutionary Court for the third time in his career under an obscure law that forbids "crimes against public moral". by the way 90 percent of people here don't like this kind of rules and don't listen to the government. Moreover, as Kerdar points out, “rock uses a raw language” and any societal issue in the Islamic Republic touches on politics. “Unfortunately, there are not many options for the musicians in the provinces. Sarah Leah Whiston, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said at the time that the incident was "equal parts abusive and embarrassing" and "a new low for the Iranian authorities". Iranian musicians have proudly named this style "Combined Music". Here’s what the recent crackdown in Iran can tell us about the regime’s approach to internet censorship and what comes next. "Instead, the country should show pride and support. He said he spent three months of 2013 in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, accused of insulting the values of Islam and spreading propaganda against the regime for an album he described on Facebook as being about the "absurdity" of the Iran-Iraq war. Music censorship has a long history. With AtriA, she had the opportunity to take part in a concert abroad. We would find cassettes and would come by a metal magazine from time to time. "We are born into censorship. "Persian dance runs through my veins and without it I might just as well not be there at all," she said. His music label, Barg Music, which he said "supported banned artists, including many women", was shut down and his instruments and other equipment were confiscated. Another – by no means insignificant – problem affecting rock in Iran is the lack of solidarity between the bands. "I feel it is my goal in life to express our history, our culture, our joys and our struggles through this beautiful art form.". The couple, who are both sound engineers, create their music from scratch using synthesisers and electronic beats. Censorship fears rise as Iran blocks access to top ... facilities banned in an attempt to impede "corrupting" foreign films and music. A few months ago, the young man nevertheless obtained an authorisation from the Labour Ministry allowing him to issue a technical and professional diploma. The weathered manager also tells the story of an AtriA poster that had to be altered to appease the authorities: “The poster featured a guitar with a few flames coming out of it. Equal Times is a trilingual news and opinion website focusing on labour, human rights, culture, development, the environment, politics and the economy from a social justice perspective. We've seen some examples of censorship in the Middle-East before but Iranian music streaming site Melovaz decided to take it to the extreme. "But as soon as the dance is presented as an individual form of expression, an art, the perception is often completely different," she said. Rajabian is a musician in Iran, where women’s behaviour and expression – including their ability to sing in public or record their songs – is severely limited by the regime. Another incident in 2014 made headlines across the world when six Iranians were arrested for appearing in an "obscene" video dancing to Pharrell Williams' song Happy. "Iranian women — as half of the nation's population — have no right to sing publicly or dance, even by stealth if the authorities find out," he said. At Café Blues, in central Tehran, not far from the old American embassy, there is music on all the time. 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