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Fact Check: No, Southern Times did not warn readers to avoid Kenyans

By Hillary Orinde | March 24th 2020

"Avoid Kenyans at all costs," reads the headline of what seems to be the front page of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional newspaper The Southern Times.

The graphic has been widely shared on social networking platforms Facebook, Twitter and messaging app WhatsApp.

Its kicker reads, "With rising COVID-19 cases and individuals who avoid to self-quarantine despite massive travels, Could Kenya become the ‘Italy of Africa” pretty soon? (sic)"

The Standard Fact Check desk has established that the graphic is Fake.

The creator(s) of the image manipulated the front cover of the 23-29 November 2018 edition of the weekly newspaper.

"Stina Wu: Entrepreneur or Rent-seeker?" the authentic headline read.

The authentic front page that was doctored.

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The story followed an investigation on a Chinese kindergarten teacher who became a billionaire property mogul in Namibia.

"Her close ties to politicians and top government officials is credited to be her recipe for success," the newspaper, circulated throughout the southern African region, reported.

The Standard Fact Check desk also established that the latest edition of the newspaper read, "COVID-19 puts SADC region at the crossroads."

The story, which can be read here, has no reference to Kenya or the people in the country.

The latest edition of the newspaper.

Manipulation of newspapers’ front pages to drive different agendas online is commonplace. This instance adds to the deluge of fake news that is flying around on the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Health Organization has described the situation as an "infodemic" and held that it is undoing the gains of stopping the spread of the highly-contagious virus.

Already, the virus has killed more than 18,000 people around the world, recorded over 408,000 declared infections and placed a third of the world on lockdown.

This is an initiative of the Standard Group to combat fake news, misinformation and disinformation. If there’s something you want us to look into, email [email protected]

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