Canadian government campaign posters about defecation are from Ghana, not India!

Claim

Municipalities across Canadian cities with high Indian populations have put posters in Hindi across the parks and beaches asking Indians not to defecate in the open. It is normal in India as Millions of them still don’t have the facility of a washroom and they defecate in the open

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Explanation

The shared poster shows a man defecating on a beach with a message. The board reads, “Beaches are not toilets and don’t do it here!” The first lines were written in Hindi followed by English language. The poster also has the UNICEF logo and mentions the country Canada in it. This post is shared with a claim stating, “Municipalities across Canadian cities with high Indian populations have put posters in Hindi across the park and beaches asking Indians not to defecate in the open.” The post went on to add, “It is normal in India as Millions of them still don’t have the facility of a washroom and they defecate in the open.” You can view similar claim posts here and here.

What’s the truth?

We began our analysis using a basic Google reverse image search and relevant keywords and found an August 2018 article. Also, this article carried the same viral image but with a different language than Hindi.

The article was titled “Canadian diplomats concerned about funding open defecation campaign in Ghana.” According to the article, “Canadian diplomats felt the need to justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a campaign aimed at reining in outdoor defecation in Ghana amid questions over the use of development money, internal documents reveal.”

Also, the report added that a big, eye-catching billboard with the message “Beaches are not toilets—Don’t do it here” depicted people squatting on a beach as part of the public health sanitation project. The logos of the governments of Ghana and UNICEF, the UN agency, are placed strategically at the bottom of the page, along with a mark belonging to the Canadian government.

Using that as a cue, we utilized Google’s reverse image function and found the original image on the stock photo website Shutterstock.

As per the website, the photo’s caption stated that it was taken in Accra, Ghana, Africa, in May 2018. Also, when you look at it carefully, you can see the man pictured on this billboard is not the same as the man in the widely shared photo. This means that the viral image is edited.

Moreover, when we did a comparison of both the viral and original images, it was revealed that the original billboard did not have any Hindi writing on it.

We have also added a comparison image for the reader’s understanding below.

All of this information makes it clear that the widely shared image on social media in India was altered to feature a different man, and Hindi was added to it along with misleading narratives.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the widely shared photo allegedly featuring posters placed by the Canadian government requesting that Indians abstain from open defecation is a manipulated and counterfeit image. The original billboard actually comes from Ghana, Africa, and is part of a campaign against open defecation sanitation.

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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