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« Was This Photo Digitally Altered? | Main | Quote of the Day »

Wednesday, November 10 2010

Fact Checking, Iranian Style

Recently, the Working Group Against the Trafficking of Women set up a display at Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Center showing real women with price tags, as if they were merchandise for sale. The goals: raise public awareness and gather signatures for its petition.

The shock value paid off. According to Haaretz, "very few passersby reacted negatively or apathetically," and hundreds of people signed the petition.

It also drew the attention of an Iranian news site called Rajanews. Israelity explains what happened next:

The Iranian news website Rajanews picked up the story but instead of putting it in context, titled the piece “Prostitution in Israel” with a caption for the included picture (picked up straight from the Haaretz website) reading “Slavery Mall in Israel.” The article then proceeded to “shed some light” on modern slavery in Israel, a “country which claims to be a democracy.”

The Iranian “misunderstanding” (if you want to be kind) was reported by Mohammad Memarian, an Iranian blogger on the Mideast Youth site, who chastised his fellow countrymen for both publishing the libel and not immediately rejecting its fabrication.

To its credit, Rajanews removed the article, but you can still see it on other websites such as this one (it’s in Persian). Note that any slips of Israeli skin are blurred out. Falsehoods can be reported but, God forbid, there should be any immodesty on the Iranian web.

Mideast Youth's criticism hit the nail on the head:

Given the frank, unambiguous article published in Haaretz, I can hardly imagine that this case could be a simple misunderstanding. Rather, it’s fair to believe that the original news editor/translator distorted the story, assuming that no one would ever dare to find the truth. Such a bitter fact that awkward distortion of the truth is still considered a suitable instrument to manipulate the minds of the audience.

That's fact checking, Iranian style.



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I think it was incorrect for Israel to post publicly such a sign. It could have been missunderstood

I went to the web site and thanked Mohammed Memarian.

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