COVID-19 pandemic still grows unabated in more than 200 countries across the globe compelling governments to impose strict restrictions on its citizens like lockdown. In some countries like Sri Lanka the lockdown has been imposed as a curfew, preventing citizens from moving about and gathering together and nearly 2000 violators have been arrested to date. These measures, however extreme, have been imposed for the safety of the general public as the patient numbers and death toll continue to rise around the world.
In this context, we noticed a recent Facebook post by a Sri Lankan user claiming that lockdown violators in Nepal have been severely punished and bound in wooden leg braces by the authorities. The post which was shared nearly 200 times can be seen below with the accompanying text: In Nepal lockdown punishment…
A quick search of the image online proved that the same image has been posted by several others around the world, claiming that it was taken in different countries including Thailand as shown below:
Considering the image being circulated across different countries with different claims all related to lockdown restrictions, we conducted an investigation to find out the origins of the image with its true context.
The first level Google Reverse Image search indicated that many posters had in fact associated the image with the pandemic, while as stated, the location in each were different. Following are the results of the search.
A further search for verified news sites featuring the image proved that the location could be Colombia based on posts by StudioMaxTV and Folhamax which also carried additional and related images of the incident.
The Studio Max site in Brazil which ran the story on the 4th of April 2020 included the headline “Na Colômbia, cidadãos são presos pelos pés por desrespeito à quarentena” meaning “In Colombia, citizens are imprisoned by their feet for disregarding the quarantine. In Córdoba, residents who break mandatory isolation rules receive punishment for at least half an hour in a public square” A screenshot of the post can be seen below along with other images of the incident reported.
Further, each image sites a source and follows the ethical media practice of blocking out the faces of the people in the images.
Another site, Folhamax also carried a similar story on 8th April 2020 which claims the images were taken in Colombia, with the headline Desrespeitosos são presos em quarentena meaning The Disrespectful are Arrested During Quarantine. Again, we are also shown a range of images related to the original image as seen below:
Since the images have no distinguishing signs of location such as a street name or sign board we did a further search on the uniforms of the officers present in the image to ensure that they were in fact Colombian army officers. However the camouflage style in the photographs are not distinguishable due to the resolution of the images available. The search results and comparison can be seen below:
Furthermore, by going through several verified websites and social media posts we were able to ascertain that the vehicle used in the post resembles vehicles used by Colombian Police as well.
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We checked the official Facebook page of Nepal Police also and noticed that they were using a blue colour uniforms.
Therefore from our investigation it is clear that the image claiming to be lockdown protocol violators in Nepal, Thailand and several other locations is miscaptioned and the image actually represents punishment given to quarantine law violators in Colombia.
Title:Does This Image Show Lock Down Protocol Violators Physically Punished by Nepal Police? Here’s the Truth…Fact Check By: Shanaya Seneviratne