Did Iranian Olympic Coverage Censor Images of Female Athletes?

Censorship in Iran was purportedly demonstrated by footage from a state-run sports network.

  • Published 20 August 2016

Claim

A video showing highly censored female athletes competing in the 2016 Olympics was broadcast by the Iranian Sports Channel.

Rating

Origin

A video purportedly showing competition footage from an Iranian sports channel in which the bodies of female athletes were highly censored by black bars and asterisks was recirculated on the internet during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro:

This video, however, did not show a real broadcast of the 2016 Olympic Games from the “Iran Sports Channel.”

First, this video was at least three years old in 2016 and depicted events from athletic competitions that took place in previous years. Second, the censorship bars shown in the video were humorously inept and were not added by the “Iranian Sports Channel,” as the broadcaster would simply opt not to televise an event if it featured women wearing clothing deemed inappropriate by the religiously conservative nation’s standards.

While the exact origins of the above-displayed video are still unclear, this video was likely created by or for satirical television program Parazit, which frequently spoofed Iranian politics.

A similar “hoax” circulated in August 2016 which featured a supposed censored image of a female Olympic volleyball player.

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes