FACT CHECK: Did Time Magazine Feature Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa On Its Cover?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a recent Time Magazine cover featuring Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Verdict: False

The image is digitally fabricated. A Time Magazine spokesperson confirmed the outlet did not publish such a cover.

Fact Check:

Rajapaksa recently appointed a new cabinet despite widespread calls for his resignation over his handling of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, according to BBC News.

The Facebook image purportedly shows a Time Magazine cover featuring his image and text that labels him “THE WORLD’S WORST PRESIDENT” as well as a war criminal, racist, fraud and thief.

The purported cover is digitally fabricated. It does not appear in the outlet’s online vault of authentic covers from 2022. There is also no trace of it on the outlet’s verified Twitter or Facebook accounts. The cover of Time’s April 11 issue featured American actress Mindy Kaling, while Japanese baseball player Shohei Ohtani appeared on the cover of its April 25 edition.

“This image is not an authentic TIME cover,” a Time spokesperson told Check Your Fact in an email. (RELATED: Did The Boston Globe Publish A List Of The ‘Top Foolish Voters, By Country’?)

Time has covered developments surrounding Rajapaksa and the demonstrations against him. However, the outlet’s reporting about the Sri Lankan leader does not feature the phrases included in the fabricated cover.

This is not the first time a fake Time Magazine cover has gone viral. Check Your Fact recently debunked a fabricated cover that allegedly featured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Prior to that, Check Your Fact debunked a fake cover featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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