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Wednesday, 14 November 2012


On my daily prowl through the BBC news site I came across a story that really got me thinking. It's the story of an Iranian professor who's photograph was mistakenly used by the Western media in the coverage of the brutal death of a young woman at a demonstration in Tehran.
The two women had similar names, the professor was Neda Soltani, the murdered demonstrator was Neda Agha-Soltan, which led to the professor's image being taken from her Facebook page in a case of spectacular misidentification. The rest of the media then followed suit and the unwitting and entirely uninvolved professor's image became the face of the story.
She quickly found herself having to answer to the Iranian authorities, who initially wanted to use her to counter what they saw as Western propaganda. When she refused things really got ugly and she was forced to flee the country.
Had she stayed, there's a good chance she would have been executed as a traitor, but fleeing meant giving up everything, her home, her family, her friends and her career. All because someone didn't care enough to check they had the right person.
Mistaken identity, extraordinary consequences, the total lack of understanding or concern by the media - I'm a little uncomfortable by how this story has inspired me to write, but I suppose we can't always be inspired by daffodils.
For more on this story, here's the link to the BBC's website.

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