Claim: A circulated image of the front page story of the Global Times newspaper alleges that President Bio’s aide stole a cell phone belonging to the ICC prosecutor.
Verdict: False. The front page was doctored. DUBAWA has a copy of the Oct. 3 Global Times newspaper and can confirm there is no such report on the front page.
An image purported to be the front page of Global Times, a popular newspaper in Sierra Leone, claimed that an employee of President Bio stole the ICC Prosecutor’s phone. The image was widely circulated on WhatsApp on Tuesday evening.
Newspapers share a digital copy of their front pages daily on different public WhatsApp groups after publication. One of those copies that went viral on Oct. 3 was Global Times, with a banner headline of the president’s aide allegedly stealing a cell phone in New York. The allegation comes in the wake of President Bio’s meeting with ICC Prosecutor Imran Khan during last month’s visit to the UN General Assembly.
In the build-up to that meeting, there were many rumours about his possible arrest for alleged crimes. However, the meeting continued, and the President was not arrested as speculated.
Incidentally, the discussion has shifted from whether the president will be arrested to an alleged phone theft by his aide.
In our bid to promote truth in public discourse, DUBAWA set out to investigate the claim.
DUBAWA bought a copy of the Global Times’s Oct. 3, 2023 edition, which did not carry the story of ICC and Bio’s aide. A digital replica of the newspaper’s front page for the exact date contradicts the circulated content.
Also noticeable is the difference in the font of the lead stories. DUBAWA further contacted the newspaper for its comment, but it is yet to respond.
The front page of the Global Times newspaper was digitally altered to report something it did not publish. The claim is, therefore, false.