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