Identity

A fictional News Article about Women in Saudi Arabia being Confirmed as Domestic Animals

28 July, 2017

Russian-language portal Alibabaru.com, published an article on social media on July 23, entitled "Women in Saudi Arabia are officially sanctioned as domestic animals." The material says that Saudi Arabia's Board of Learners came to an unprecedented conclusion, in particular, they decided that women were actually mammals and therefore had the same rights as the other animals of the same class - camels, dromedaries and goats. At the same point the news article states according to the French news bulletin Journal de Montreal, women's rights centers consider this anthropological discovery as a turning point in history, as women in Saudi Arabia up to this point were only considered as household items.

The news article is accompanied by a photograph taken in 2015, which depicts Saudi princes Muhammed bin Naif and Mohammed bin Salman.

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The story that women in Saudi Arabia have been identified as domestic animals - were invented and published by satirical editions on 7 March 2016. On different dates this story has been rehashed by several russian websites: Russkoe Agenstvo Novostei (Русское Агентство Новостей), Historytime.ru, Vlati.net.

The account, as if women were found to be no more than domestic animals by the Saudi Arabian Panel of Science, was published on March 7, 2016 by satirical news agency websites World News Daily Report and Journal de Montreal.

World News Daily Report’s mission statement reads as follows:

‘All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.’

As for the French-languaged Journal De Montreal, the section About Us on the website states that it is a media publication founded over 60 years ago and its founding fathers were persecuted in America for centuries for their belief in the Mormonic God and for them being sodomites. In the mission statement of the website, same as in the case of World News Daily Report, it is declared that Journal de Montreal also publishes invented, satirical news stories and so all of its characters are also fruit of the imagination of the authors.

American factchecking portal Snopes.com examined World News Daily Report feature in March 2017. Snopes.com also probed the photograph that claims to display the scientific panel assembled in Saudi Arabia.

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In fact, the photo rendered the annual event - World Government Summit – which was held in Dubai for 2016. None of the panelists mentioned in the 2016 program published on the Summit website is a scientist from Saudi Arabia. In addition, the annual reports disclosed on the website make any mention of biological classification of women.

Both the English-language World News Daily report and the French-speaking Journal de Montreal is registered in the United States, although they may be of Danish origin. The pair of websites use anonymous servers which makes the identification of their owners nearly impossible.

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Propaganda Method

Presenting the satirical and humoristic articles published be these editions as real information is one of the methods of propaganda from the anti-western Russian publications. If the audience is informed that the material is comical, he does not perceive it as a depiction of reality, but when hilarious farcical stories are shared on other platforms without context, and no indication of its entertaining nature, the reader finds it troublesome to identify the information as a satire or parody.

The fictitious news editorials of World News Daily Report, concerning a newborn alligator, as well as the rape of a mummy and a wax figurine in different times was published by georgian internet news portal ‘Saqartvelo da Msoflio’.


Prepared by Rauf Makharamov
Myth Detector Laboratory