Incumbent Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced a few days ago (22nd June 2022) that his economy had been “ruined.” He also said that the country was in dire straits due to extreme shortage of fuel, gas, electricity, and food grains.
In Sri Lanka, which is in the throes of an economic crisis, large-scale and violent protests against the government began three months ago. Clashes have broken out between protesters and government supporters from time to time. While these demonstrations and clashes were taking place, a picture with the below-mentioned claim was spread on social media in Nepal between and after Local Election 2079.
Nepali actress Ashika Tamang posted a picture with the claim “Sri Lankan people who were angry after the Sri Lankan government declared the country was facing financial crisis, chased away the MPs from their homes and beat them up.”
She shared the picture on social media to instigate Nepalese against their corrupt politicians.
(Screenshot from Facebook post)
In order to verify the fact, we performed a reverse image search and found that the picture does not belong to any Sri Lankan MP. The picture was used as a reference picture in different news articles. The shared picture was first shared on Getty Images on 9th May 2022. A Google reverse image search revealed that the photo was taken during a clash between protesters and pro-government protesters outside the Sri Lankan presidential office.
(Screenshot from Colombo Gazette website)
Our fact-check confirmed that the person shown to be beaten in the photo is not a Member of Parliament. He is a pastor who joined the anti-government movement after the economic crisis. The cleric was attacked by pro-government protesters as he took part in an anti-government protest in front of the president’s office.
ABCDE Framework-Based Analysis
|Actor||Independent social media users are found circulating protest pictures from Sri Lanka with misleading captions.|
|Behavior||Few pictures from a protest in Sri Lanka are spread in Nepal with a claim that Sri Lankan ministers are being beaten by the angry protestors.|
|Content||Social Media posts.|
|Degree||The targeted audience was the general public of Nepal. Pictures are not edited or forged. No synthetic means were used to make the content viral.|
|Effect||The disinformation was shared across social media platforms, Nepalese encouraged the fierce actions of Sri Lankan and pledged to do the same with corrupt leaders of Nepal.|