Claim: A Press Release gone viral on Social Media claims the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has banned Sierra Leone’s President Bio from all overseas travels.
IATA confirms to Dubawa through mail that the claim with the release is forgery and therefore false.
A document going viral on social media platforms including WhatsApp has created doubt in the minds of Sierra Leoneans regarding a pupported ban from all overseas travels placed upon the president of the Republic of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio. WhatsApp users reached out to Dubawa asking to confirm the authenticity of the claim as the release looks real.
“The ban on entry on IATA member air flights by the President of Sierra Leone , Maada Bio will be effective on 30th November, 2021,” the first paragraph of the release stated.
The reasons stated in the release for the ban includes a recommendation made from the European Union report on Sierra Leone which the release relates to the frequent travel habit of the President.
Dubawa reached out to IATA’s communication officers through email and they stated that the said document was not from the International Air Transport Association.
To further verify the claim, Dubawa further searched the social media handles of IATA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and as well as the website to ascertain the veracity of the claim. The claim was not spotted on any of these social media handles. The website has a section for press releases and it was also reached to check the latest releases but this claim was not found there.
Two press releases were issued by IATA on November 3, 2021: the first was titled “Air Cargo, up 9.1% in September, Capacity Remains Constrained” and the second one was on “Moderate Rebound in September passenger demand.”
There is no press release about the subject of ban on anyone on the IATA website.
Contact information for IATA press releases usually comes from Corporate Communication with the following number and phone number. Here is the authentic email and number that is attached to IATA press releases
Number: +41 22 770 2967
The communication details attached at the end of the release on the travel ban is the communication contact information for IATA Latin America, which is not the standard practice of IATA as observed in the numerous press releases on their website.
Additionally, the house style of IATA press releases was not followed on this document under investigation.
Authentic IATA Press Releases are numbered at the top left hand corner as seen below.
The next line is where the date is. The circulated press release doesn’t have a date or a number.
Dubawa carefully analyzed the claim by checking the red flags on the release as well as conducting investigations on the organization and firmly confirms that the claim saying President Bio has been banned from travelling overseas is false.