In between Sri Lanka to Maldives chaos, fake news finds its breathing ground

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It took four long months of protests by the public to get the President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa to loosen his firm stance on wanting to remain as the head until his end of term.

#GotaGoHome has been the call by the citizens of Sri Lanka. Their voices finally being heard, with Gotabaya announcing that he will resign from his position. What felt almost like a victory for the public, quickly turned into anger when news about Gota fleeing to Maldives came in. It was reported that Gota left for Maldives early Wednesday morning, and planned on leaving for Singapore later on that same day.

Things escalated quickly as many news sites and channels reported the incident. Daily Mirror wrote an article that read, “Protest near Maldives President’s house urging to send GR back” after receiving intel from the head of the Maldivian TV channel. This was published around 10:51 am in the morning, yesterday.

The truth is, at the time of their reporting this news, there was not any protests going on outside Maldives President’s house.

False Reporting? A report of the news event before it actually happened on scene-
It is rather very suspicious that a group of prominent twitter personalities like Ashok Swain, Max Walden and well known news sites were quick to share a news before it actually happened. Nomatter how you see it, Daily Mirror propagate this, let alone perform a fact check prior to publishing it. No other media houses in Maldives nor in Sri Lanka were part of this exclusive news from the future that Daily Mirror had access to.

The protest in Maldives took place later in the afternoon around 4:15 pm. The protest was held at carnival area in Male’ city.

So how did this head of the Maldivian TV channel knew exactly what was going to happen 4-5 hours from when the news got reported? And how did a credible news site like Daily Mirror publish a news just based on a tip off without checking for credibility? Its like they could predict the events from the future.

Nonetheless, Maldivians who were present at the time of the article getting published were quick to call this as fake news. Ali Sulaiman, a media personnel from Maldives commented saying not to spread fake news. Shumba Gong who is a Social Activist & Founder of the Mv Newswire also tweeted calling the article as fake news.

During such a sensitive time, when both the countries are at unrest and its people anguished over the government, such unethical reporting only ignites the rage. Another question that raises in the back of the mind is that, could the article have been the catalyst for the out pour displayed by the public? Acknowledging that the event took place only after the fake news was widely shared by people in the social platform.