Brazilian model Fernanda Lima, a presenter at the draw, also drew a backlash for her attire. Her revealing gold dress and matching heels was deemed inappropriate by the standards of the Islamic republic, where women are obliged by law to cover their hair and most of their body.
The draw ceremony was planned to be broadcast live in Iran with several hours of promo inviting fans to tune in to state television. But every time Lima appeared in the shot, state television cut the live footage, provoking jokes by Iranian broadcast presenters navigating the draw in Persian.
Afterwards a storm of Persian comments were directed at Lima’s Facebook page, with many Iranians leaving insulting remarks.
Iranians love football. But those watching the live World Cup draw on state TV in Iran had a very disrupted view – with every shot of Fernanda Lima cut out. “To be honest with you, the dress of the lady who presents the show does not meet our broadcasting guidelines at all,” explained Adel Ferdosipour, the host of the programme. It is standard practice for state media in Iran to censor, blur – or even digitally alter the clothing of women to make it more acceptable.
But Iranians weren’t happy. Cartoons were shared on Twitter and Facebook urging Lima to wear a hijab. And many posted complaints about her choice of clothing to her Facebook page. Many of the comments were deliberately offensive. Outside Iran, Fernanda Lima was trending on Twitter for the exact opposite reason, with more than 70,000 tweets about her – many of them very complimentary about her appearance.
They probably mean a Chador, especially based on that cartoon, but six of one, a dozen of the other. Lima’s appearance threw the Iranian media into a frenzy.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the graphic images of Catherine Ashton being kissed and embraced by John Kerry and Laurent Fabius, after an agreement was reached in the Geneva talks, was just too much for the Islamic Republic’s state TV. That crisis however was quickly resolved by some good pro-active readiness on behalf of the state TV’s experts in “image pixelating and blurring” department.
But just when the state TV chiefs in the Islamic Republic, could breathe a sigh of relief after their successful blurring of Catherine Ashton’s provocative images, they were hit by the tsunami of Fernanda Lima appearing in the Brazil 2014 World Cup draw ceremony.
For a few seconds, an overview of the stage, with the lights off, was shown, just to get the ambiance of the moment, but how long can you show a dark stage on a TV program? The host joked, “wouldn’t it be good to broadcast the entire show like this? it will be easier to report it”.
He was told to apply more delay tactics by talking to the guests, while the experts at the pixelating and blurring provocative images department, tried experimenting with covering up Fernanda with all the cover up tools they had at their disposal.
Ferdowsipour struggled to find a suitable subject to talk about. After all, the show was about the world cup draw and viewers wanted to know which team was selected to be in which group?!
Finally it was decided that Fernanda was just too sexy and provocative, even if blurred or pixelated. The thoughts of the faithful viewers squinting their eyes to de-pixelate Fernanda must have gone through the minds of the “moral guidance” officers and even further horrified them. The way things worked out however, they won’t have to face the wrath of the Friday Prayer sermon leaders next week and can sleep well, at least until Brazil 2014 starts!
They can always look forward to Qatar 2022 where the women and all minorities will know their place at the back of the bus. But some Iranians have responded with an Iranians Love Messi & Fernanda Lima facebook page.