The Swazi Observer newspaper published a bogus news story on Friday (24 August 2018) saying that men who had been circumcised to minimise HIV infection would likely die after 10 years.
The Observer said that an NGO in the United States called Deltas Clare (the Observer also called it Delta Clare in its story) conducted research and found that the medication used for circumcised men reacts after 10 years. Deltas Clare did not publish the report but it ended up on the WikiLeaks website, it said.
The Observer also reported, ‘WikiLeaks says apart from the HIV/AIDS pandemic, circumcision of men is part of the Western’s plan to wipe out the African race.’
It took less than a minute searching on Google to discover the story was bogus. The Observer clearly had not bothered to check it out.
Thankfully the proper journalists at Malawi24 did. It reported, ‘Firstly, there is no organisation in the public domain that is based in the US by the name. This raised the first alarm in story.
‘Secondly, there is no study that has recently been published recently by WikiLeaks on circumcision.
‘Not only that, WikiLeaks database does not have any research report by Deltas Clare or an organisation that goes by that name.
‘Lastly, a study of this great magnitude would have been published in high ranking journals and media outlets across the world.
‘In the contrary, a simple google search tracks the story to on-line and social media outlets in Zambia which are of questionable repute.
‘The sites include Zambian Watch and The Zambian Observer. A quick scan through these publications hints at the sites striving on either Fake News or unfounded gossip. A time stamp of the stories shows that the story was first published in Zambia on the two sites on 18 August 2018 around 14:30.’
It concluded, ‘VERDICT: FALSE. While medical effectiveness of circumcision in the first against HIV is yet to be established with conclusive evidence, our verdict drawn from the above evidence is that the story and all its claims are wholly false.’
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