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FACT-CHECK: Was Nigerian news on cover page of UK newspaper held by Julian Assange?

An image of Julian Assange holding UK newspaper, The Guardian, has been doctored to look like the headline says that President Muhammadu Buhari has “massive…

An image of Julian Assange holding UK newspaper, The Guardian, has been doctored to look like the headline says that President Muhammadu Buhari has “massive plans to islamize Nigeria,” a fact-check investigation by CrossCheck Nigeria, has discovered.

CrossCheck Nigeria, a collaboration of newsrooms in Nigeria which includes Daily Trust, also confirms that the headline is not real: the original photo shows Assange holding up an article about the Afghanistan war logs in 2010.

The image has been shared by various individuals and groups on WhatsApp.

CCN confirmed the photo has been doctored through the following checks:

  1. A Google search of “Julian Assange holding up The Guardian” returned a nearly identical looking image of Assange holding the newspaper with the headline “Massive leak of secret files exposes true Afghan war.” The photo was taken by Leon Neal for AFP/Getty Images.
  2. CNN, as well as many other publications, have used the photo, reporting that it was taken on July 26, 2010, a day after Wikileaks released Afghan war logs.
  3. The online version of the original article from The Guardian can be found here, posted on July 25, 2010.

CCN concludes that the photo might mislead the Nigerian electorate, especially its Christian population, to depict looming persecution and thus encourage voters’ apathy, ahead of the coming general elections.

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