The dust is yet to settle on fake obituaries that were erroneously published on Radio France International, RFI, online platform on Monday November 16, 2020. President Paul Biya of Cameroon was reported dead by the said article, including other former and present world leaders. RFI has presented excuses, describing it as a technical error but at the same time did not dismiss the articles published because, “As in all media, our journalists prepare in advance portraits of personalities so that, if they were to disappear, they can quickly provide readers with all the information they need to know about their career.” RFI said.
Unfortunately, this Monday, November 16, 2020 in the late morning, a hundred of these obituaries were published by mistake on the site rfi.fr and on several partner platforms (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Flipboard …). This publication is, of course, involuntary. It is due to a technical incident, linked to the migration of the RFI site to a new content publication tool. These articles have therefore been published in draft form without any editorial intervention.
RFI said all articles are being removed from RFI’s digital environments and partner platforms, preceded by an internal investigation to determine the causes of this regrettable incident.
We, RFI and the Digital Environments Department of France médias monde, the group to which our radio station belongs, apologize first and foremost to the people concerned by these obituaries and who may have been offended by this publication, once again made by mistake. We also apologize to you, readers, Internet users, who are faithful and trust us.
The former President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, who was also announced dead, mocked RFI by saying that it was hilarious for him to see his obituary while he was still alive. He cautioned people to always verify their sources before sharing an information.