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Iranian Taxi Drivers Banned From Playing Banned Music

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Rasul Abbasi, the director-general for transportation and traffic coordination of Iran's municipalities, has told the Borna news agency that taxi drivers are not allowed to play banned music in their taxis.

Banned music is freely available in Iran

Abbasi said that if they did so, they would be dealt with according to the law, which could lead to the cancellation of their taxi permit and confiscation of their cars.

The Iranian official added that the law in this regard has not been implemented for the past few years. He called on the managers of organizations supervising taxis in Iran to oversee the performance of their drivers.

RFE/RL's Radio Farda broadcaster Elahe Ravanshad asked Moshtaq, a taxi driver in Tehran, what he thinks about Abbasi's comments.

"It is one of the most important human rights for one to be able to choose what he listens to and no one has the authority to determine that. What would one want to listen to in his free time, for instance, whether banned or not. Who is the one to actually decide what should be banned and what should not? On what basis is this determined?"

Moshtaq also said that he doesn't believe officials can force taxi drivers not to play banned music in their cars.

"Obviously, it will not be effective. Such a law exists for drivers who are employed by government agencies, they're not allowed to play banned music in their cars. But they do. When a driver wants to listen to his favorite music, he would do anything. A flash drive is most convenient for them as it doesn't take more space than a key; they would connect it to the stereo in their car anytime they want and listen to their favorite music."

Most forms of Western music and Iranian pop music are banned in Iran. Yet many Iranians listen to banned music and CDs of banned music, from rock to hip hop and Los Angeles-produced Iranian pop music, are widely available on the black market.


Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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