Presenter Rozita Ghobadi has not been seen on state TV since apologizing for a guest’s comments about the benefits of dancing in relieving pandemic stress. (Supplied)

January 18, 2021

Rozita Ghobadi, who hosts the Asr-e Khanevadeh (“Family Time”) program for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting [IRIB], appears to have placed on garden leave and has not appeared on air for more than a month.

The presenter had been forced to apologize on behalf of a guest: a doctor who had suggested that, confined to their homes due to coronavirus on the night of Yalda (the winter solstice), people could “dance” in their homes instead.

The guest said dancing would make it easier to get to sleep, and also recommended reciting poetry together to overcome the stress of the pandemic. At the time of the broadcast Ghobadi had simply laughed in response.

But the next day, according to Hamshahri, Ghobadi then appeared on TV to apologize for the “controversial comments” her guest had made, calling them a “verbal mistake.” But ever since then, she has not resumed her role as a presenter on Channel Two.

Ghorbani, 35, from Shiraz, has since published a post on her Instagram page that cryptically asked people to raise their own children in such a way that they would not take pleasure in the failings of others. It suggested colleagues and peers might have played a role in her censure.

Allegorically describing the differences between children’s chairs games in Iran and Japan, Ghobadi wrote: “Why can we not stand to see our friend or colleague being successful? Does this prevent your success? Why must you pull the chair out under their feet to make room for yourself?”

Punishments for on-air transgressions such as these tend to be short-lived. As Hamshahri points out, “TV presenters usually return to the small screen after a private period of reflection about their bad move. This is likely to be the case for Ghobadi, and she may yet present the Asr-e Khanevadeh show again, albeit with greater caution.”

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.