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Is Iranian state TV’s monopoly at risk?

Iran’s state TV, which is facing a crisis over viewership since some of its best directors walked out, has found a strong rival in the home video network.

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Iran's state TV, has the sole monopoly over domestic radio and television services and is independent of successive Iranian governments. The head of IRIB, who is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is currently Abdulali Ali-Asgari, a conservative known as “the father of digital TV in Iran” for turning the analogue state TV into digital. The huge public corporation runs around 50 foreign and domestic channels and 42 radio stations, as well as a newspaper and a news agency.

When it comes to making TV series, IRIB is the only corporation that is authorized to broadcast them, as there are no other TV channels apart from those owned by IRIB. Therefore, directors and producers have had to endure the limitations, censorships and strict policies of IRIB. For instance, on April 6, sports broadcaster Adel Ferdosipour’s remarks in a show called “Dorehami” ("Gathering") in favor of allowing Iranian women to watch soccer games in stadiums were edited out. Similarly, a scene from the comedy series “The Capital” showing the leading actor with his lover on the deck of a ship in a parody of the famous scene from "Titanic" was cut out with no reason given. IRIB has also blacklisted several actors, including Fatemeh Motamed-Arya and Baran Kosari, for their political views.

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