Fact-Check

Factcheck: These Are Not Pictures Of IPOB News Studio In South Africa

A picture purported to be a media studio belonging to IPOB

Two pictures were recently shared on Twitter claiming to show a news studio belonging to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

This claim is, however, not true as the pictures are rather of studios owned by Al Jazeera and American news website, The Hill.

Full text

On Saturday, September 19, a Twitter account, IPOB Biafraland twt head (@Biafralandtwt_1), shared two pictures, which it said are of a recently acquired news studio by IPOB in the largest city in South Africa.

“IPOB Is Waxing More Stronger [sic]. ‘Upgrading’. Biafra: IPOB New Media Studio House In Joburg,” said the caption.

In the account’s bio, the handler describes themself as IPOB’s “Twitter team head”. The group, founded in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, is a separatist organisation that advocates for the independence of the Republic of Biafra.

The said tweet was liked by 329 Twitter users and shared a total of 304 times as of 2 pm on Tuesday. The reactions showed that many of those who engaged with the claim believed it or, in the least, did not question it. “That’s fantastic, all must hail Biafra,” Attah Martins (@attahmartins1) wrote in the comment section on Sunday.

Other comments include: “Good to hear”, “Very very good”, “Good development”, “Chineke k’anyi di nma” (God bless us), and so on.

Verification

Merely looking at the posted pictures, it is not difficult to spot two logos: One of Rising, an online news show aired by The Hill in the United States since June 2018, and the second of Al Jazeera, a state-owned broadcasting station based in Doha, Qatar.

The words on the picture on the left are Rising with Krystal & Buck, which is what the show was called when it was presented by Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton, until the latter was replaced in June 2019 by Saagar Enjeti.

Consequently, it is now called Rising with Krystal & Saagar. This means the photo is over a year old.

Using Google reverse image search, HumAngle traced the picture on the right to a post published by NewscastStudio on August 16, 2013.

The platform, which hosts the “largest collection of photographs and samples of television sets”, uploaded the photo alongside six others and described it as a 2013 set of Al Jazeera Arabic in Doha, Qatar.

A reverse image search on Bing using the second picture led to the same website, specifically a post published on November 13, 2018. According to the platform, the studio is based in Washington D.C. in the United States.

NewscastStudio acknowledged Devlin Design Group as the set’s designer, and checks revealed that the company’s website contains the same picture and 11 others in a post originally published on August 14, 2018.

Though a look at its publications revealed that its set has slightly changed over the years, there is no evidence suggesting that the studio of Biafra Television, an online broadcaster affiliated with IPOB, looks anything like those uploaded last week on Twitter.

The latest video uploaded by the platform on November 23, 2019, shows that what is likely used is a green screen to spread a graphic design behind the presenters.

The presenters sit on orange armless swivel chairs and not on a couch as in Rising, and there is no obvious lighting equipment.

Screenshot of Biafra Television’s latest YouTube upload.

Conclusion

The claim is false.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with HumAngle to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.


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