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Correction to Associated Press report on rally for women's rights in Tehran

Source: Her Land magazine (Zanestan)

During the days preceding and following the June 12 gathering for women's rights in 7th Tir Square, unsourced bits of misinformation predictably circulated on the Internet and through word of mouth. One of the most unexpected lies made its way into an Associated Press report, which was widely quoted and carried by numerous news outlets throughout the world.

According to the AP report, the protest was "organized by a previously unknown group calling itself the Labor and Communist Party." The AP report, which admits to having no prior knowledge of this group, identifies them as the organizers because of an invitation that was delivered to its Tehran office the day before.

After a phone call to the AP correspondent in Tehran and several ignored emails to the AP Bureau Chief in Cairo - in which she was informed of the report's factual errors and repeatedly asked to issue a correction - yielded no results, we are obliged to make the following clarifications, offer one recommendation, and ask one question: The gathering was NOT organized by the Labor and Communist Party, but in fact a group of activist women who initially joined together to form the Coordinating Group, after which dozens of Webloggers, university students, and other supporters and sympathizers helped get the word out.

70 people, not 20 people were arrested, as claimed in the report.

Numerous people were injured, not one person, as claimed in the report. Several of those injured are demanding due process and compensation and have since filed a legal complaint against law enforcement for inflicting their injuries.

We estimate the number of protesters to be closer to 5,000 and not the 200 which was stated in the report. In the future, when the Associated Press deems similar women's gatherings worthy of its coverage, we recommend that it takes the time to do its homework to prevent the repetition of such sloppy and inaccurate reporting.

Lastly, we are intrigued to know just who exactly is the Communist and Labor Party and where are they located? Since AP was the only news outlet to identify this group as the organizers, we welcome their elaboration.

The Coordinating Group

... Payvand News - 7/11/06 ... --

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