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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

September 20, 2019

AFP’s fact-check service debunks misinformation spread online. Here is a selection from around the world published on our blog this week:

1. ‘Cursed’ for defiling Koran?

A photo showing a man with a long, forked tongue and sharp claws has been shared tens of thousands of times on Indonesian social media accounts, in posts that claim the man in the picture was cursed for urinating on the Koran. The man is actually in costume at a 2007 Halloween parade in Hollywood, USA.

2. Mugabe’s ‘Adidas body bag’

An image showing what appears to be an Adidas-branded body bag, supposedly containing the remains of Robert Mugabe, has been shared hundreds of times. But the body bag isn’t real — it’s a computer-generated image with no connection to the late Zimbabwean president.

3. Metallica’s national anthem

A video watched hundreds of thousands of times appears to show American heavy metal band Metallica performing the Indonesian national anthem. But the audio of the clip has been manipulated — the original shows two of the band’s members performing the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, at a stadium in San Francisco.

4. Hong Kong protests

A viral video on Facebook has appeared alongside a claim that it shows a fire started by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong at a high-end shopping mall. The footage actually shows a recent fire at a shopping mall in Malaysia.

5. Canada abortion debate

A photo from the Conservative Party of Canada’s 2018 convention is being shared in a misleading meme which claims the party wants to reopen the debate on abortion. A vote to change the party’s policy book language on the topic failed and it continues to state: “A Conservative Government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion.”

1. http://u.afp.com/KoranCurse

2. http://u.afp.com/MugabeBodybag

3. http://u.afp.com/MetallicaIndonesia

4. http://u.afp.com/MalaysiaMallBlaze

5. http://u.afp.com/CPCabortion

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.