The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been the latest news outlet to fall for a fake story about Barbados artist Rihanna donating $2 Million to support flood victims in Sierra Leone.
The news article first appeared on www.glonews360.com with the headline: ‘Rihanna Donates whopping sum of money to Sierra Leone’s mudslide victims.’ The article states that the Grammy award winner donated $ 2 Million dollars to support victims of the August 14th Mudslide and flooding disaster in Sierra Leone. The news report later appeared in several websites and went viral on social media.
BBC journalist Audry Brown, who was presenting BBC Focus on Africa program this week, fell for the fake news. Brown said following a report about Sierra Leone: “One of the people contributed money is the Pop star Rihanna. She is giving $2million dollars to help the people of Sierra Leone cope in the aftermaths of that Mudslide and flashfloods.” But the story turned out to be fake.
The Sierra Leone Embassy in the United State of America issued a press release on Monday about the fake news story. It said: “The story is a figment of the imagination of the author, which is not only considered unfortunate, but a misnomer that is coupled with gross thoughtlessness and inhuman gesture as displayed.”
A spokesperson for Riana’s foundation, The Clara Lionel Foundation, has also commented on the story. The spokesperson told Buzz Feed news website that the story was “untrue and completely inaccurate.”
“Like many around the world, we are devastated by the tragic mudslide in Sierra Leone,” the spokesperson added.
The BBC is yet to make a statement on this issue.
The August 14th flooding and Mudslide in Freetown killed over 400 people whilst 600 are still reported missing. The disaster left thousands more displaced. The Government of Sierra Leone has been receiving cash donatuons, food items and non food items for the victims of the Freetown disaster.