Shah! Shah! Ayatollah so! Iranian censorship: a joking matter!

Even some Iranians think that the Ayatollahs’ media censorship is a joke.

Censorship is nothing new for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), but particularly awkward editing has recently brought the state broadcaster international ridicule.

The censoring of sports events and movies is common on Iranian television. Iranian viewers have grown accustomed to shots of the audience being cut from live coverage of sports competitions. But IRIB made world headlines when it meddled with an Italian soccer club’s logo during its live coverage of UEFA Champions League soccer. While covering the April 4 quarter final game between AS Roma and FC Barcelona, IRIB producers decided to blur out a section of Roma’s iconic logo of a she-wolf suckling twins.

The initial wave of reactions in the domestic Iranian media soon went global. Even AS Roma poked fun at Iranian state TV on Twitter April 5.

It was hardly the first time that IRIB has made headlines with its peculiar censorship methods. Female fans with outfits deemed un-Islamic have been cut from live volleyball coverage for years. The cuts are sometimes so frequent that viewers are left practically incapable of following games. These censorship practices have been a constant topic of criticism as well as jokes over Persian-language social media.

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