HaqCheck investigated and debunked three viral social media claims during the first week of the month. Below are the false claims HaqCheck cross-checked throughout the week.
An alleged video of Debretsion Gebremichael’s recent interview
HaqCheck observed a viral video circulating across social media platforms, mainly Facebook and Twitter, with a claim that the video was of a recent interview with TPLF chairman, Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD) about the peace agreement and he made good remarks on the deal and PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD).
The claim came out after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government signed a peace agreement last month to end the two-year war that erupted in November 2020.
The TPLF chairman, Debretsion Gebremichael is heard in the clip saying, “our Prime Minister [Abiy Ahmed] opened a new chapter [of peace]”.
But, the video clip was not new. The clip was taken from an old interview made with the TPLF chairman in 2018 regarding the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea that ended the two-decade no-peace-no-war situation.
The original video was published on YouTube on Jul 15, 2018. HaqCheck confirmed that the recent video was extracted from the old one and was edited to make it look like a recent interview.
A 25-meter-tall human skeleton discovered in Gojjam
Another false claim HaqCheck looked into was an image-backed claim that a 25-meter-tall human skeleton was recently discovered in a small village in the West Gojjam zone of the Amhara regional state.
Two Facebook posts with the same claim and the same image emerged and were shared multiple times.
We inquired into the claim and the image presented to support the claim. However, HaqCheck confirmed that the picture doesn’t show a 25-meter tall giant human skeleton recently found in Gojjam, Amhara region.
The image was taken from an old publication made in September 2013 and it shows a giant prehistoric human skeleton excavated in the Sahara Desert in Niger. It was also used in a documentary film named Skeletons Of The Sahara, produced by National Geographic Television.
Amhara regional government presented Emperor Haile Selassie’s photograph as a gift to President Isaias
An image showing Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki receiving a gift from Amhara regional state government delegates was posted on Facebook on Nov 30, 2022.
The gift being presented to the President was a photograph of Emperor Haile Selassie I. The post used the picture to criticize the supporters of the Eritrean ruling party saying “you are supporting this [President Isaias]” implicitly stating that the President was working with Eritrea’s historical enemies.
It is true that delegates of the Amhara regional state government, led by Worksemu Mamo, speaker of the regional State Council traveled to Eritrea for a five-day visit in September 2018. The delegation presented a gift to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
However, HaqCheck confirmed that the image shared by the Facebook account was altered.
The original picture shows that the delegation presented to the President an image that contains the Geez alphabet, the Castles of Gondar, the Obelisk of Axum, and the rock-hewn Church of Lalibela.
Thus, the post was rated False.
As always, HaqCheck recommends social media users be cautious about misleading and controversial claims. They should look for additional information such as fact-checks for potential false claims.
Disinformation and information disorder, in general, become intensified when sufficient information about ongoing issues is unavailable. We urge government offices and other entities to provide timely updates to the public.
We recommend the government to guarantee the right of citizens and the media to an open and secure access to information.