Long-defunct New York Herald did not publish critical cartoon about Pakistan judiciary

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Weeks after Pakistan's top court issued a ruling that led to the removal of former prime minister Imran Khan, posts circulated on social media claiming the New York Herald newspaper published a cartoon depicting Pakistan's judiciary as subservient to Washington. However, the New York Herald newspaper ceased publication in 1924 and the image, which was shared hundreds of times, was digitally altered from a political cartoon about a UK court approving an order to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.

"New York Herald Cartoon in today's Newspaper,,, what a great shame for Paki Institutions," reads text below what appears to be a political cartoon that was shared on Facebook here on April 30, 2022.

The image appears to depict a judge receiving a pat on the head from an Uncle Sam figure while sat in front of a dog bowl with the Pakistan flag. In the judge's mouth is a piece of paper that reads "No Confidence Approved".

"Pakistani institutions should announce 'blaspheming against courts' action against America," the post's romanised Urdu-language caption reads.

A screenshot showing the doctored cartoon, taken on May 2, 2022.

 

The image circulated weeks after cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was dismissed as Pakistan's prime minister after losing a no-confidence vote that the country's Supreme Court had ordered to take place.

Khan insists he has been the victim of a "regime change" conspiracy involving the United States -- an allegation Washington denies.

The image was also shared over 900 times alongside a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here and here; and on Twitter here, here, here and here.

Shireen Mazari, a senior figure from Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, also shared the image on Twitter here on April 30 before deleting her post.

Comments to the posts indicate people were misled and believed a US paper had published the cartoon "disrespecting" Khan and Pakistan.

"Look how shameful it is. Those who brought the no confidence motion ought to be charged with treason," one user wrote in romanised Urdu. 

Another user believed the newspaper had "made [a] mockery of Pakistan".

However, the New York Herald newspaper ceased publication in 1924 and the image was altered from a political cartoon critical of a UK court decision.

Edited cartoon

A reverse image search led to this political cartoon published on April 22 by far-left US outlet MintPress News.

In this cartoon, the dog bowl has a UK flag and the sheet of paper in the judge's mouth reads: "Assange Extradition Approved".

A UK court issued a formal order on April 20 to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to face trial in the United States over the publication of secret files relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The post's caption on MintPress News' Facebook page reads: "The UK has long served as a lapdog for the white house interests.

"The UK's court approval of Julian Assange extradition to the US is clear evidence of this British ass-kissing."

The post credits Carlos Latuff as the cartoon's creator; Latuff posted the cartoon with the same caption on his own Facebook page on April 22.

Below is a comparison of the doctored cartoon (left) and the original published by MintPress News (right).

 

Responding to an enquiry from AFP, MintPress News said the cartoon was made exclusively for them.

"The cartoon you provided appears to be an edited iteration of a cartoon published by MintPress News related to Julian Assange's extradition," a spokesperson said.

"MintPress News did not produce, authorize, endorse or in any way partake in the edited copy of the cartoon," they added.

Khan's ouster has set off a wave of misinformation that AFP has debunked here, here and here.