Iran's state television to ban makeup for women

By Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, December 2, 2009; 12:09 PM

TEHRAN -- Iran's state television will ban makeup for women, "abnormal" music and unruly children, an Iranian newspaper reported Wednesday.

The broadcaster's top manager, Ezzatollah Zarghami, told his managers that female presenters wearing makeup are to be taken off air, saying the wearing of makeup was against the law -- even though millions of women in this country use it. He said there "should be no insulting of family elders by children."

"Lowering and refining of music is among our plans," Zarghami also told his managers. His comments were reported in the Ettemaad newspaper.

Iran's state television is under heavy criticism from both supporters and opponents of the government, who say its programs are relatively dull and don't appeal to the nation's urban middle class. Viewers are increasingly turning to foreign-based Farsi-language satellite channels, some of them financially backed by the United States and Britain.

A member of parliament recently said that the elite Revolutionary Guards are using new equipment to block transmissions of foreign channels. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently said he was not satisfied with state television's performance.

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