Showing musical instruments has been banned on Iranian TV since the early days of the Revolution. Some hardline clerics believe broadcasting music promotes depravity and should be banned altogether. Due to this strict interpretation, for many years broadcasting pop music did not have a place on the state media. Overtime, because of more lenient Islamic interpretations and reformist polices, this taboo was broken. However, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has adopted a curious policy of broadcasting music without actually showing the instruments. When airing a concert or a music video the images of musicians are often replaced with scenes from the nature such as flowers or waterfalls.
IRIB has faced a lot of criticism from artists, musicians, and cultural figures who are concerned about the young generations that are being cut off from their heritage.
In a recent attempt to highlight the absurdity of this rule, a popular jazz-fusion banned, Pallet Band, mimed instruments during a performance broadcasted on Radio 7, an entertainment program on Iran’s channel seven.
Many Iranians on social networks hailed this performance by the group as a clever, humorous, and effective way of protesting the status quo.