Newsweek cover terming Pakistan the ‘most dangerous nation’ is from 2007

Old cover likely being shared as magazine’s latest issue days after lynching of Priyantha Kumara


Claim: Pakistan has been labeled the “most dangerous nation” on the cover page of Newsweek’s latest issue. The cover features an image of screaming clerics.

Fact: While Newsweek did publish the cover in question, it did so in 2007, almost 14 years ago.

On 6 December 2021, what was claimed to be the cover page of Newsweek’s latest issue, labeling Pakistan the “most dangerous nation”, started circulating on the Internet, with numerous social media users implying the cover was a response to the brutal mob lynching of Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana, a 49-year-old Sri Lankan citizen who was a factory manager in Sialkot.

The image immediately went viral, perhaps due to the discussion of extremism and mob attacks in Pakistan following the Sialkot incident. The image was shared by multiple people with considerable followings, including PML-N lawmaker Tehmina Daultana and the controversial Pakistani-born Canadian journalist Tarek Fatah.


Among the captions accompanying the Newsweek cover were “The new face of Pakistan”, “#TruthBeTold”, “LANAT [Curses] ARE BEING SEND FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD .KEEP UP THE GOOD JOB”, “The American Sunday Magazine ‘Newsweek’ has made headlines for us”, “What does the world think of us”, as well as one that held Imran Khan accountable for “adding Pakistan to the list of most dangerous countries in the world”.

A CrowdTangle analysis showed that the search terms “most dangerous nation in the world iraq pakistan,” “most dangerous nation pakistan,” and “newsweek pakistan” recorded 238 interactions across 57 posts, 2,137 interactions across 84 posts, and 6,066 interactions across 148 posts, respectively.

Soch Fact Check traced the viral picture to a Facebook account that shared the image in a post on 6 December at 3:04am. Over the next few hours, multiple other Facebook accounts shared images of the magazine cover in question. It appears that after Fatah shared the image at 9:21pm, a number of Indian propaganda pages picked up and shared it onwards.

The Newsweek’s 29 October 2007 issue did originally carry the cover, which labels Pakistan the “most dangerous nation”, features a picture of screaming clerics, and includes headlines for two separate feature stories: ‘Germany: The Lost Leader’ and ‘China Looks Inward’.

The web version of the article can be found here and here.

The image used in Newsweek’s October 2007 issue was shot by John Moore, who was based in Islamabad during the Siege of the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) and photographed the riots there. It was then that he took a picture of the screaming clerics — one of whom appears to be reaching towards Moore, who is no longer based in Pakistan.

Speaking to Soch Fact Check, Moore confirmed that the photograph used for the Newsweek cover was from “a protest near the Red Mosque in 2007” and that he “based in Islamabad from 2005-08 for Getty Images”.

It is worth noting that some of the aforementioned influential accounts with considerable followings may have posted the cover in an attempt to indicate that Pakistan has not progressed since 2007, which is when the magazine cover was originally published.

Conclusion: The cover of Newsweek magazine in question that is going viral on social media following the lynching of Priyantha Kumara is not from 2021 and dates back to 2007.

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