Malaysian newspaper Utusan Malaysia was duped by a fake news story claiming a Catholic priest converted to Islam after being in a coma for more than a year.
Utusan Malaysia published a story about the fake news, which originated from a satire story on World News Daily’s website. World News Daily’s Oct. 10 story had claimed an 87-year-old Spanish priest living in Indonesia “has woken up from a 17 month long coma” and “converted himself to Islam after the man claims Allah spoke to him and showed him ‘the beauty of the heavens.'”
The report claimed the priest had a cardiac arrest on the roof of his church, fell off the roof, and woke up with no spinal injury.
World News Daily Report identifies itself as “an American Jewish Zionist newspaper based in Tel Aviv and dedicated on covering biblical archeology news and other mysteries around the Globe.” The site has a disclaimer admitting it is a satire site. “All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news,” the site admits.
“A report taken from the World News Daily Report regarding a catholic priest from Spain, Eduardo Vincenzo Maria Gomez, 87, converting to Islam after 17 months in a coma is untrue. Utusan apologises for any inconvenience and confusion following the publication of news emanating from the site.”
The apology is published on Utusan Malaysia‘s website in Malay. It reads:
“Laporan paderi terjaga daripada koma peluk Islam tidak benar
“KUALA LUMPUR 12 Okt. – Laporan yang dipetik dari laman web World News Daily Report mengenai seorang paderi Katolik, Eduardo Vincenzo Maria Gomez, 87, dari Sepanyol memeluk Islam selepas 17 bulan koma, hari ini, adalah tidak benar.
“Utusan memohon maaf atas sebarang kesulitan dan kekeliruan berikutan penyiaran berita yang berpunca daripada laman web itu. – UTUSAN ONLINE”
Utusan Malaysia also tweeted the apology:
— Utusan Online (@UMonline) October 12, 2014
iMediaEthics has written to Utusan Malaysia for more information.