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Iran’s pro-Ahmadinejad media: Using fake crowd photos?

Photo appears altered to make the size of a pro-government rally look bigger

By International news editor / June 17, 2009

What do you do if your pro-government rallies aren’t big enough?

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Turn to Photoshop.

Copy a section of the photo, and fill in the empty spots with more people.

That’s what it looks like happened at a pro-Ahmadinejad rally.

A photo is making the rounds in the blogosphere and Twitter. It looks like it was first exposed on the website of an Iranian photographer, Mohammad Kheirkhah. He’s worked for several Iranian, British, and US news organizations. But he didn't take the photo.

Click here to see it.

Journalists who have visited Iran say this is not unusual.

“The regime often does this on huge anniversaries, if the images don't look good enough. I've seen it done before the on the cover of Kayhan,” says a Western photographer.

Kayhan is one of the most conservative Iranian newspapers. It’s published by the Kayhan Institute and is under the direct supervision of Ayatolah Khameini’s office.

The text on the photographer’s site indicates that’s where this photo came from: the front page of Kayhan.

The Farsi headline on the photo says:

“Nation's Unprecedented, Million March Finishes the Job” [of the election]

The subhead: “Unprecendented Tehran People's Rally in Support of Ahmadinejad”


The New York Times ran these famous photos after an Iranian missile test last year. The photos originally came from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s news website, Sepah News.

Three missiles were launched, but the photo was altered. Via the magic of digital software, a fourth missile was added to the mix.

Photos via Newscom/File

Apparently, the propaganda war continues.

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