Iran: Deceased Blogger's Mother Erased Out of News Photo

Newspaper doctors photo

These are the two versions of a photo of a meeting at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran, one with Sattar Beheshti's mother, and the other without. Javan newspaper say they altered the photo to protect her. Source unnamed.

There were warnings and protests from Iranian hardliners last weekend, when European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with with several human rights activists at the Austrian embassy in Tehran on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

In a negative article about the meeting, conservative newspaper Javan, doctored a photo, erasing an image of Gohar Eshghi, the mother of the blogger Sattar Beheshti, who died under torture in police custody in 2012.

Javan later published both photos with an explanation, saying they had censored the photo to avoid criticism for labeling the bloggers’ aging mother a “seditionist”.

Half Saddam, half Ashton

Mohammad Hassan Najmi tweeted a photo of a propaganda billboard showing Ashton's face halved and shared with Saddam Hussein's.

In Tehran, some posters on billboards depict Ashton's face as half Saddam Hussein [former Iraqi president who led a war against Iran, 1980-88].

They censor because they fear

Mehdi Mohseni tweeted a satirical image of Sattar Beheshti's mother being cut out:

They censor because they are scared.

Mohammad Moni tweeted on March 11 on the likelihood of government complicity with the protest:

Several students protested against Ashton's meeting with activists in front of the Austrian Embassy. Keep in mind you need a permission for even a water fight here. [several people were arrested after a playful water fight in public in 2011]

“Ms. Ashton, Iran is not Ukraine”

A small group of hardliners demonstrated in front of Austrain embassy. One of the slogans was: “Ms. Ashton, this is not Ukraine.”

It was the first visit of an EU foreign policy chief to Iran since 2008.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site