GCU did not collaborate with Walled City of Lahore on Harry Potter Festival

Outlet previously flagged for misleading news again shares unverified reports

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Claim: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) collaborated with Government College University (GCU) Lahore to organise the Harry Potter Festival in December 2021.

Fact: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) had no involvement in the Harry Potter Festival hosted by Government College University (GCU) Lahore, according to an official of the WCLA.

On 30 December 2021, Soch Fact Check was sent an image that featured shots of GCU Lahore and a picture of Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the famous franchise’s sixth movie released in 2009. 

The text, “Govt College Lahore Collaborates with Walled City Lahore to Celebrate Harry Potter Festival on 29th Nov,” as well as a logo and URL belonging to Startup Pakistan, were superimposed on the image, which was shared in two groups — ‘Startup Pakistan’ — which has more than 120,009 members — and ‘Harry Potter Memes PH’ — which has close to 70,000 members.

Fact or fiction?

Soch Fact Check traced the image back to its original source, a post by Startup Pakistan’s Facebook page. The claim regarding the WCLA’s alleged involvement in the Harry Potter Festival was found to be false.

Speaking to Soch Fact Check over phone, Tania Qureshi, the in-charge of the WCLA’s Marketing, Tourism, Media & Culture department, denied the claims of collaboration between the WCLA and GCU.

“No, there’s nothing like this. We did not have any such MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] or anything like that with them,” Qureshi said, referring to GCU Lahore and Khayaali Productions, the studio behind Pakistan’s first Harry Potter fan-made film, “The Last Follower and the Resurrection of Voldemort.”

Soch Fact Check also found a post by Khayaali Productions, wherein the studio refuted claims that it had collaborated with the WCLA.

“‘The Last Follower’ and Harry Potter theme-based festival is solely produced by Khayaali Production in collaboration with Government College University, only,” the Khayaali Productions team wrote. “There is no affiliation of any third party with this project and we as a company have no association with the spread of this fake news.”

Virality

A CrowdTangle analysis for the period starting 1 October 2021 to date, with the search phrase, “Govt College Lahore Walled City Lahore Harry Potter Festival 29th Nov,” revealed that there were six relevant posts that garnered close to 3,600 interactions on Facebook.

The claim was shared by multiple other culture and entertainment news pages on Facebook, including ‘Content CreatorZ’ and ‘Inflics’. Further, the image bearing Startup Pakistan’s URL and logo was also included in a post by Facebook page ‘Deen is Beautiful’ where the Harry Potter Festival was condemned for contributing to the “downfall of Muslim ummah”.

Conclusion: A WCLA official confirmed that the organization did not collaborate with GCU Lahore to organise the Harry Potter Festival held in December 2021.

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