Digikala, Iran's Amazon, charged with selling products containing offensive images

Digikala, Iran's Amazon, charged with selling products containing offensive images
Digikala has been accused of selling items that carry offensive images / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews February 9, 2024

Tehran General and Revolutionary Courts have declared a crime against Digikala, Iran’s biggest online shop, for selling products with offensive images offered on the website, Fars News reported on February 8.

Digikala is an e-commerce website similar to Amazon. It is one of the biggest and most famous online stores in Iran. This store has been operating for nearly a decade and has become quite popular in the country. The establishment of this store paved the way for the growth of online shopping in Iran.

These charges appear to be related to the images printed on certain products available for purchase on this platform.

On February 7, Iran's state media, Tasnim, published a report criticising some of the products being sold on Digikala. The report claimed that there is no supervision on the supply of these products, which goes against the people's cultural and religious beliefs.

“In recent days, some customers have criticised this store for the strange presentation of certain products that they believe may be disrespectful to religious beliefs. Criticism and surprise from people continue to arise as the supply of these products in Digikala persists. It is unclear which responsible and supervisory body is obligated to deal with this violation of norms. It is necessary to consider additional measures to increase deterrence in committing such actions beyond the usual methods employed by judicial and regulatory bodies,” the news agency wrote.

Tasnim posted a censored picture of a heat-sensitive mug as an example of a product that goes against some people's religious beliefs.

The products are currently available on the platform and can be purchased. One of the mugs features an animated woman wearing a hijab and has a text that reads, "This is the mug that (a specific Iranian name) uses, please do not use it” in informal terms.

bne IntelliNews’ reporters in Tehran, Iran's capital, showed the uncensored picture to people of different ages to gauge their reaction. They wanted to check if the image and other products with similar content are considered offensive to these people and if they go against their religious beliefs.

Out of the 40 people, aged between 19 and 68, who saw the picture, 36 responded that they did not find the particular product or similar products offensive. The remaining participants refused to answer.

Moreover, in July 2023, Iranian officials shut down one of Digikala's offices and started judicial procedures after the company posted a picture of its employees not wearing hijab.