Iranian woman excoriates media for misusing photo after protest death
Neda Agha-Soltan was shot during election protests in Tehran in 2009. Wikipedia commons.
An Iranian woman has expressed fury at the media for mistakenly using her Facebook photo in place of another woman with a similar name who was killed during a demonstration in Tehran in 2009, the BBC has reported.
Neda Soltani’s Facebook profile photo appeared on websites and TV broadcasts in connection to the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, news of which spread quickly around the world and subsequently became the face of the Iranian protest movement.
Soltani was shocked when she saw her photo on the news and tried to explain the mistake to everyone who contacted with her.
“It was just ridiculous to see how such a huge mistake had come out of a simple photo on Facebook,” Soltani told the BBC. “But it was also very shocking to see my face side-by-side with the video of Agha-Soltan. When I saw people all over the world demonstrating with my photo, putting up shrines, lighting candles – it was just like sitting there and watching my own funeral.”
She first fled to Turkey, then to Greece, Germany and finally the United States when she understood that there was no safe place in Iran anymore.
Soltani said she remained angry, saying media outlets had deliberately used her photo.
“Looking back, the people I am most angry with are the Western media,” she said. “They kept using my photo even though they knew it was not a picture of the real victim in that tragic video. They knowingly exposed me to extreme danger.”
Soltani has recently written a book titled “My Stolen Face.”