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‘Downed Sudan jet’ video fake


As part of Radio Dabanga’s ongoing open-source verification initiative and relentless commitment to combat disinformation, our investigation team thoroughly scrutinises a viral video clip and a series of images depicting a fighter plane’s alleged emergency landing in Selima Oasis, Northern State.

The video features a commentator speaking in a Sudanese colloquial Arabic dialect, asserting that the plane suffered damage and was forced to land in the Selima Oasis in Northern state, near the borders with Sudan and Libya.

The accompanying written commentary claims that the plane was downed by the “fierce Rapid Support Forces” (RSF). The post identifies the aircraft as an F-14 fighter jet from the Egyptian Air Force “on a mission connected to Merowe and Dongola airports within Sudanese territory”.

A fighter plane reportedly executed an emergency landing in what the video narrator identified as the Sudanese Selima Oasis, Northern State.

Upon investigation, Dabanga’s fact-checking unit found that the video is inauthentic and unrelated to Sudan; it dates back to June 2020 and shows a Libyan Aero L-39 Albatross fighter plane from Gen Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya.

The emergency landing occurred in an area on the Libyan border with Niger. It became evident that the voice of the Sudanese narrator was edited to the video much later.

Propaganda

Sudanese are being bombarded with propaganda by the warring parties, and social media is becoming part of the battle ground, making it increasingly challenging to get an idea of the situation on the ground.

Back in May, Radio Dabanga covered a report by Sudan Conflict Monitor that shed light on the escalating propaganda campaigns in the ongoing conflict back, as well as the efforts of London-based Valent Projects in June to track potential astroturfing* attempts by the warring parties, and other propaganda efforts.

On August 15, a joint statement Sudanese Media: Four Months of Violations, collaboratively produced by a number of media organisations in Sudan, represented a unified effort by independent media institutions and press organisations to address the critical state of press freedom in Sudan amidst an ongoing and devastating conflict.


*Astroturfing is the practice of hiding the sponsors of a message or organisation (e.g. political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organisations credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial backers. The term astroturfing is derived from AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to resemble natural grass, as a play on the word “grassroots”. The implication behind the use of the term is that instead of a “true” or “natural” grassroots effort behind the activity in question, there is a “fake” or “artificial” appearance of support. (Source: Wikipedia)





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