Iran’s state broadcaster gains full authority over privately-owned streaming services, raising concerns for filmmakers and artists

Iran’s Supreme Council for the Cultural Revolution has given IRIB complete authority over private streaming services, citing religious programming and restricted news.

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Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolution Council decided last week, granting the state broadcaster (IRIB) complete authority over the content displayed on privately-owned streaming services. Filmmakers and actors have raised concerns over this decision’s impact on their careers.

In Iran, where privately-owned television networks do not exist, streaming services like Filimo, which operates as an online video-on-demand (VOD) platform similar to Netflix, have gained significant popularity. These services have allowed independent filmmakers and artists to showcase their work, including those with dissenting views. However, IRIB president Payman Jebelli requested its prohibition.

The recent decision by Iran’s council grants the state broadcaster control over the content on privately-owned streaming services, allowing censorship and the blocking of disapproved films. Previously, in collaboration with SATRA (the Iranian Audio-Visual Media Regulatory Authority), the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture was responsible for reviewing and approving the content streamed by privately-owned streaming platforms, including films, programs, and music. However, critics have raised concerns about the legality of SATRA’s involvement in the content vetting process.