Iranian Photography Book Was “Blacklisted” by PayPal Because It’s “Iranian”

July 25, 2013 | Marina Galperina

City of Sound had self-produced and self-published a beautiful looking book featuring the work of fifteen young Iranian photographers, documenting the “interior life” of Iran. Not only does the photojournalistic book serve as counterpoint to the generalized, if not demonized media narrative surrounding Tehran and its people, it looks to be full of intimate, insightful work.

Well, womp womp.

After the publishers realized that the orders from their online Fabrica store weren’t processing, the emails began. They were told that the order was blocked because the book had the word “Iranian” in the title. That word is on “blacklist,” according to PayPal. It took several days to get the book on a “whitelist.”

Fabrica was first asked to change the title.

Leaving aside the fact that of course we don’t want to change the name of our book in the shopping cart, I find this politically-motivated censorship, willingly if not actively carried out by a corporation, absolutely despicable. I have no idea if the US government actually enforces this on PayPal; the PayPal representative could not confirm or deny…

Perhaps PayPal would prefer that the title was “Living Rooms in the Axis of Evil” or “Living Rooms of People Not Like Us” or “If You Like These Living Rooms So Much Why Don’t You Go And Live There?”

You may purchase the book here.