Misleading posts claim 'Sri Lankan newspaper published cartoon of Pakistan's religious extremists' after blasphemy killing
In the wake of the killing of a Sri Lankan man for alleged blasphemy in Pakistan, social media posts have shared a claim that "a newspaper in Sri Lanka published a cartoon of Pakistan's religious extremists" in early December. But an AFP review of all mainstream newspapers in Sri Lanka found that up until December 15, none had in fact published the cartoon. The artist behind the cartoon who works for an English-language newspaper told AFP he only posted it on social media and it was "not published [in any] Sri Lanka print media".
The cartoon was posted here on Facebook on December 12, 2021 and has received more than 2,000 likes.
"This was published in a Sri Lankan newspaper today", reads the post's caption.
"Just heart breaking how a handful of people managed to ruin the reputation of an entire country like this."
The cartoon appears to show a figure wielding the Pakistan flag's crescent moon as a weapon. "Pakistan's religious extremists" is written on his jacket.
The name "Awantha Artigala" can also be seen in the bottom-left corner of the image.