Image credits: AP/@sardar_pashaei/Twitter
Television channel controlled by the Islamic Republic of Iran censored more than 100 broadcast shots showing a female referee during a British soccer match on April 13 between Manchester United and Tottenham. The post by Sardar Pashaei, a world champion gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling for Iran highlighting Iranian state TV’s censorship triggered several netizens to denounce Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s government for ‘sexism’. According to My Stealthy Freedom, an Iranian rights group that rejects the government’s compulsory hijab law said that the match was censored over “100 times.”
During the Premier League match between Tottenham and Manchester United on Sunday, every time the female referee, Sian Massey-Ellis was shown, the Iranian state channel cut away from the game and played the clip of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the backstreets of North London allegedly in an effort to prevent the shots of woman assistant referee wearing shorts. According to My Stealthy Freedom, when the game ended, a commentator reportedly quipped that “he hoped the viewers enjoyed the geographic show.”
“Censorship is in the DNA of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We should not normalize this practice. This is not our culture. This is the ideology of a repressive regime,” the rights organization said in a statement on Facebook.
Last night, Iran TV interrupted the important game between #ManchesterUnited and #Tottenham dozens of times, censoring its images, just because one of the referee's match was a woman(@SianMasseyRef). Will @FIFAcom voice its objection to this gender discrimination by Iran? https://t.co/zQJBr1o8kc— Sardar Pashaei (@sardar_pashaei) April 13, 2021
Iranian state TV channel cut away from live coverage of Tottenham versus Manchester United more than A HUNDRED times 'to avoid showing the bare legs of the female assistant referee'.#PL #seanknows pic.twitter.com/L0MN8mRLAk— Sean Cardovillis (@sean_cardo) April 14, 2021
The rights organisation also noted that in 2019, Iranian state TC even cancelled showing a game between Bayern Munich and Augsburg “because a female referee was officiating” even though in 2021, it chose to censor the game. My Stealthy Freedom said, “It is no secret that women are treated as second class citizens in the Islamic Republic, where compulsory hijab rules are rigidly enforced. Now, even non-Iranians on television must be made to adhere to the country’s draconian laws.”
Earlier, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that the female cartoon characters shown on Iranian television must be shown wearing a hijab, a head covering worn in public by some women. Khamenei added that even though it is not necessary for the women in cartoons and other animated films to have their hair covered, it is “required” because of the consequences of not wearing a hijab. When the Iranian Supreme Leader was asked by the pro-regime Tasnim News Agency if he believed it was ‘necessary to observe hijab for the characters of animated films’, he replied by saying it is ‘required’.
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