Truth behind Canada's campaign against public defecation targeting Indians

A reverse image check of the photograph led us to a similar picture on Shutterstock, a stock image/footage provider.

Posts exhorting Indians not to defecate in public spaces in Canada have come up on social media, claiming the boards in Hindi were put up by Canadian municipal authorities amidst an influx of Indian migrants.

The text accompanying a photograph said the municipalities in Canada have put up posters in Hindi in parks and beaches, urging Indians not to defecate in open public spaces. It also said public defecation is common in India, where millions of people do not have toilet facilities.

The probe
A reverse image check of the photograph led us to a similar picture on Shutterstock, a stock image/footage provider. The picture was posted on May 1, 2018, with the caption, "Beaches are not Toilets." It also said the posters were put up at Accra in Ghana.

A comparison of the social media photograph with that of Shutterstock's website revealed that the pictured man's face has been changed. Also, the wording in the Shutterstock picture has been changed to "Stop open defecation" in the viral photograph.

Further keyword search revealed that the Shuttermedia picture was published by various media houses in 2018. Posts on X also showed the original picture.

According to available information, the original boards were part of a public health scheme funded by the United Nations and Canada. The Canadian government's logo could be seen along with those of the Ghana government and UNICEF. Reports said Canada has been working with UNICEF to end public defaecation in the African country.

Reports also said Canada had shelled out about $8,50,000 for the project. The original pictures had grabbed much attention in Ghana and Canada. Reports also quoted UNICEF officials.

Though we enquired if Canadian municipalities have run a similar campaign targeting Indians no reports were found.

The picture that has gone viral is a digitally altered one. The original posters were used in Ghana. 

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