The Bushiris were arrested in February 2019 on charges of fraud and money laundering.
Two days after they fled, the front pages of two Malawian dailies – the Nation and the Daily Times – were posted on Twitter with the claim that the country’s president Lazarus Chakwera had helped the couple escape.
The tweet reads: “The Malawian newspapers are telling it as it is. The President smuggled Bushiri out of SA.” It’s been retweeted more than 740 times.
In the tweet, the Nation’s front page headline for 17 November is: “Chakwera cover-up Bushiri smuggling”. The Daily Times edition for the same day reads: “Hiding a fugitive! Chakwera to meet Bushiri in Chikoko Bay.”
Did the two newspapers really report that Chakwera had smuggled the Bushiris into Malawi? We checked.
The Nation posted the front page of its 17 November edition on Facebook, and it tells a different story. The real headline is: “Chakwera SA delay infuriates Malawi.”
Sellina Kainja, a digital editor at the paper, tweeted the fake and real front pages side by side.
Please don't spread fake news. The one on the right is the original, on the left is manipulated. By the way I know this because I work at The Nation. Please have some little intelligence to fact-check information. Zikomo pic.twitter.com/TOjhcDFnDs
— Sellina Kainja (@snkowani) November 18, 2020
The Daily Times also posted its front page for 17 November on Facebook. The headline reads: “No interference. Chakwera sees Bushiri matter as legal.”
The two genuine front pages were also posted in a reply to the original tweet.
Those are the actual headlines. Fake news media at it again pic.twitter.com/Lfr6lSFybe
— Faith, Hope and Love (@longie_k) November 17, 2020
The newspaper headlines were photoshopped.
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