FACT CHECK: No, this is not the image of Hapless Italian President crying while addressing the nation.

Coronavirus False International

Italy has been the hardest hit by COVID19 as the death toll continue to increase and has now surpassed China with more than 5000 deaths and over 50,000 diagnosed with the disease as per the latest reports by the WHO.

Italian officials have been also at the center of attraction on how they are dealing the pandemic which has devastated the nation. In this backdrop, an image of a sobbing Italian head of state went viral in Sri Lanka and many parts of the world.

A Facebook user called “Madu Tuwan” shared an image claiming to be weeping Italian President with the superimposed text “මේ කඳුළු සලන්නේ ඉතාලියේ ජනාධිපතිවරයාය. ඒ ඔවුනට මියගිය අයගේ සිරුරු මල දැමීමට දැන් ඉඩ නොමැති බව පවසමිනි”- translated to English as “This is Italian President weeping saying there is no more space to bury the dead bodies”


Number of similar posts were shared among Facebook users as below.

Similar claims were shared with English narratives as well. Below is a screengrab of such a post which claimed “Just look at the crying President of Italy 😔
Italy has the most advance Health Care Facilities, but they failed to control Corona because they were taking it as a joke in initial days and todays their president cried that we are short of space for burying dead bodies of corona affecties”

Link 1Archived 1Link 2Archived 2

While number of users as seen above had commented that it’s a misinterpretation, considering the plight of Italy many had reacted to these posts with high number of interactions.

Fact Check

When we performed Yandex Reverse Image Search, on the photo claimed as the Italian President, we found that the person in the image is not the Italian head of state Sergio Mattarella, but Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

We also check twitter accounts of the Italian President and the Brazilian President as well.

Italian President Official TwitterJair Bolsonaro (Brazilian President)

Below is an extract from the official website of Italian heads of state about Sergio Mattarella who has been serving as the President of Italy since 2015.

We also found an article from poder360, a Brazilian news site reporting the incident that took place on December 17, 2019 using the same photo. Using Google translate, we translated the article from Portuguese to English and we found that the Brazilian president had shed tears while recollecting a knife attack he had suffered during 2018 election campaign.

LinkArchive link

The video of the incident in which President Bolsonaro got emotional while recounting his experience of getting stabbed while campaigning can be seen in the video given below.


Google news search for key words “Sergio Mattarella “, resulted in fair amount of fact-checks on the photo claim done by different organizations around the world indicating how viral these claims have been as well. 

We also checked the latest public statements made by the Italian President via his Twitter and Instagram posts as well as verified news channels in Italy and we did not find any instance of him weeping while addressing the nation.


According to the above investigations, the news of the weeping Italian President shared by multiple Facebook users are totally false. The person in the photo is actually Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president.


Title:FACT CHECK: No, this is not the image of Hapless Italian President crying while addressing the nation.

Fact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe 

Result: False

5 thoughts on “FACT CHECK: No, this is not the image of Hapless Italian President crying while addressing the nation.

  1. Thank you Facebook fact checker, because since last few days I was in agony that the Italian president is weeping over the Corona death tool then in case the same situation resulted in Africa cango or other poor countries then how they will handle then same. Lastly kindly block the person who shared first time this false news after the proper inquiry from him that wherefrom he collected the information and also demand proof of his innocence, if he fails to answer then should must be blocked. Thank you kindly

  2. This is a well done-fact checking. Fact being one of the qualities of a news item, -it is much essential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *