Claim: A social media blog called Shine Liberia posted a photo with the caption, “keep old man Joe in your prayers. Learned he was rushed to the hospital.”
Verdict: Fake! The photo was manipulated using that of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro.
It has been reported in the media that the standard bearer of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Joseph Boakia, was sick and admitted at the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) Hospital.
The media again reported that he was discharged after a week-long stay.
News of Boakai having a poor health condition has, however, been circulating in the public for a while.
A social media blog named Shine Liberia, which seeks to showcase the cultural heritage of Liberia and highlights business and investment projects, took to its page on August 21, 2023, with a report that the UP standard bearer was rushed to the hospital. The report displayed a purported photo of Mr Boakai on a hospital bed.
As of August 22, 2023, the post generated 126 reactions, 130 comments, and 5 shares, with some comments expressing get-well wishes to Mr Boakai.
Due to the seriousness of the claim, especially as the country is preparing for the October elections, DUBAWA decided to investigate the information posted by the blog.
The image of Mr Baokai, posted by Shine Liberia, was subjected to a Google reverse image search, pointing the researcher to a story posted by Reuters on January 11, 2023. This credible website reported the ill-health of the former President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. The picture of Mr Bolsonaro in hospital, which was posted in January, is very similar to the one posted in August by Shine Liberia, except the face of the former Brazilian president was with that of Joseph Boakai.
The photo of the former Brazilian President was checked on PimEyes, an online face search engine.
Research further revealed that the image posted to be Boakia, who is also the former Vice President of Liberia, is a photo tweeted on January 10, 2023 by former President Bolsonaro, after he had gone for medical treatment in a hospital in Orlando, USA, as shown below.
As can be seen in the photo, the medical setup and the background in the hospital room of Bolsonaro are the same as the photo posted by Shine Liberia, claiming it to be Boakai.
Shine Liberia’s picture of former Vice President Boikai in a hospital is fake!