Claim: A social media blog posted a newspaper with the headline “No Space For Muslims”
Verdict: Manipulated, Front Page Africa did not publish the article “No space for Muslims.”
Full text: SAPA TV wrote,” Breaking News! Former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Standard Bearer of the Opposition Unity Party, has threatened to eliminate Muslims from his government when elected as President of the Republic of Liberia.”
In their publication, they said, “Mr. Boakai served as vice president in the government of then-President Ellen Johnson Sieleaf, who took office after the end of a brutal civil war about 20 years ago. He has decided that if he’s elected president, Liberia will be turned over to Liberians, and those strangers who came to get rich at the expense of the Liberians will not be provided access to work. He added that work will be provided for Liberians only, and the Mandingo and Fula will go back to Mali and Guinea to contribute to the building of their country’s economy. Amb. Joseph N. Boakai added that over many years, this country’s resources have been looted by Mandingo and Fula, and nothing important is contributing to the country. It’s time that these people be sent to their country. Amb. Joseph N. Boakai said Keep following SAPA TV Liberia for more authentic and fact-checked information.”
In that post, the SAPA placed the front covers of two newspapers (Frontpage Africa and The New Republic Newspaper)
Verification: The Frontpage Africa Newspaper with the following headline was disseminated on social media and professional group check late Monday, October 23, 2023.
Given the public’s concerns, we conducted research. We discovered that the cover of the paper, as posted by SAPA TV Liberia with 885K followers, was manipulated in order to incite violence and religious conflict, and so the relationship of opposition with the Muslim community in Liberia as Liberians poised for an upcoming runoff election on November 14th, 2023.
What we found: While the publication date and year are October 23, 2023, the top story title, “Justice on sale?” comes from a previous publication done months before. We also discovered that the modified content was posted by SAPA TV-Liberia everywhere it appeared, implying that it originated on the web platform.
We discovered that the internet site is controlled by a Liberian forestry development authority employee who is a staunch supporter of the ruling CDC. We also found that the site is being utilized to spread the narrative of President George Weah’s CDC, effectively running propaganda against opposition candidates, individuals, players, and possibly stakeholders in these elections. Similarly, we discovered that the platform altered the covers of two newspapers in order to accomplish this heinous injustice.
FPA Response: Hours after this content was being circulated, FPA issued a disclaimer on its official Facebook page.
“DISCLAIMER: It has come to the attention of the management of FrontPageAfrica that certain unscrupulous individuals have designed what appears to be the cover page of a newspaper, using the FrontPageAfrica logo to fulfill their ulterior motives. This design, with the headline ‘No Muslim Working in My Government,’ was not produced by our newspaper. FrontPageAfrica categorically denies involvement in this content, and the management strongly condemns it.”
Conclusion: Given all of the circumstances, this content was modified with the goal of causing problems and scaring voters, some of whom are Muslims, away from voting for the opposition candidate Joseph Boakai if they had the intention to do so.