There were some disinformation elements and controversies which were notable last week. HaqCheck in this piece summarized the information disorder in the Ethiopian social media landscape.
Controversy over Lion Pharmacy compound
Last week, there were claims and counterclaims over the Lion Pharmacy compound found in Piassa.
The first claims appeared, alleging that Lion Pharmacy and Neon Addis compounds will be demolished by the City Administration. The claims added that the lots are going to be given to business people affiliated with the government.
Later on, reports came out that the compounds are not going to be demolished. A local news outlet reported that the Ethiopian Federal Housing Corporation stated that the compounds will only be renovated without damaging them.
World Bank loan Vs grant controversy
Another controversy observed in the previous week was regarding the 300 million dollar World Bank financial support to Ethiopia. There were two sides to social media reporting about the type of support: some said it was a loan and some stated that it was a grant.
However, haqCheck investigated the matter and confirmed that the fund was a grant to Ethiopia to help the country deal with the aftermath of conflict.
Therefore, it was confirmed that the World Bank’s recent financial support given to Ethiopia is a GRANT, not a LOAN, and rated the claims asserting it is a loan, FALSE.
Government soldiers captured by OLA
HaqCheck investigated an image-backed claim last week. The Facebook post shared an image claiming that the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) /addressed by the government as Shane/ captured a truck full of soldiers of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.
The claim came out amid reports that the Ethiopian government recently launched a military offensive against OLA.
However, HaqCheck confirmed that the image was old and taken from previous publications. The image appeared first on a Facebook post made on Jul 4, 2021.
We urge social media users to cross-check information, images, videos, and their sources before they use or share it with others. They should be cautious of claims and counterclaims on social media. They are also advised to have a look at fact-checks done by fact-checking outlets.
HaqCheck recommends media outlets be responsible and abstain from disseminating false information.
Disinformation always intensifies amid lack of up-to-date and sufficient information. The government should ensure open information access to the media and the wider public.