ONE of the biggest menaces to democracy in recent times is Fake News. The Collins Dictionary has announced “Fake News” as a word of 2017.
According to Social Science Research Council 2020, Disinformation was defined as international falsehood or distortions often spread as news to advance political goals such as discrediting opponents, disrupting policy debates, influencing voters, inflaming existing social conflicts or creating a general backdrop of confusion and informational paralysis.
Digital disinformation leads to greater political polarization, which opens space for yet more disinformation, thus exacerbating divisions.
In today’s world every falsehood can proliferate rapidly. The increase of social media has made borders insignificant. Face-book and Twitter have removed the obstacles for dissemination of false news.
The swiftness of information has increased significantly with countless photographs, opinion and hours of footage published online.
The consumer is overwhelmed by the flood of information, the importance of validity, respected publications, official sources, and confirmation have become redundant.
The mechanisms to counter the growth of false or fake news are both deficient and inefficient. This is also now a very potent tool of strategic warfare.
The living tangible example of it is India for fifteen years successfully manipulating international bodies and organizations through fake news websites, fake media outlets, identity theft and fake editors and journalists.
Hundreds of fake media outlets and organizations have pushed a pro-India and anti-Pakistan and China agenda in the EU and UN.
The Indian press agency Asian News International (ANI) subsequently disseminated it further to extensively cover material from the disinformation network.
It left many in Pakistan speechless when the EU Disinfo Lab revealed the real extent of it in its report called “Indian Chronicles.
As per this report the disinformation campaign against Pakistan has been active since 2005.
The mission of this network is to discredit nations in conflict with India especially Pakistan, but also China.
Its long-term objective is to generate fifth-generation warfare, as the campaign aims to reinforce pro-India sentiment while pushing anti-Pakistan sentiment across the world by manipulating the media.
With a dual goal to consolidate India’s power and image in the world and damage the reputation of other countries, the Indian network has worked diligently to get favourable support from international institutions such as the EU and UN.
The network repackages and spreads news through media networks across the globe to amplify anti-Pakistan content.
General McChrystal, one of the most decorated officers of the US Army, said for the foreseeable future what happens on social media will be crucial to the outcome of any debate, battle or war.
He rightly points out that battles are now being waged over truth itself and in these fights the line between reality and perception will be blurred, separating fact from fiction will be tough for governments, but almost impossible for populations.
The war is on the minds. The tool is persuasive technology minus norms and ethics. The lack of global accountability has enabled India to defy international law, norms and rules while trying to defame Pakistan.
It wants to achieve several objectives though this “Malign Pakistan campaign” which may include overall defaming of Pakistan, cultivating anti-Pakistan sentiments in important forums, sabotaging or delaying CPEC and Afghan peace process, scuttle Pakistan’s efforts to improve its economic outlook.
It is also to divert attention from the atrocities it is committing in occupied Kashmir, exploit sectarian, ethnic fault lines and the chasm in the civil military relations of Pakistan, raise doubts about Pakistan’s nuclear program; all aimed at destabilizing Pakistan and endangering regional peace and security in South Asia.
Principles of disinformation are all about concealing truth, using half-truth, twisted truth, untruth. It is not the deliberate lie but the half-truth, the embellished truth and the truth dressed up to appears as something different. This is subliminal disinformation done consciously, the distortion is more immediately absorbed.
The Indian chronicles reveal just that. It used 750 plus fake media in 116 countries including those in Brussels and Geneva.
The group, obviously supported by the Indian state, had registered 550 websites and exercised direct control of 10 plus NGOs accredited to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
It made use of fake journalists and editors, did not even hesitate from the resurrection of dead people.
The involvement of member of the European Parliament was also revealed. All of this geared towards maximization of negative content about Indian adversaries most importantly Pakistan.
This vast network serving Indian interest was exposed in 2019, India is red faced for now, but is not deterred. It took a hit because of the disclosure; however, they continue to function with the same philosophy and many of them are still around working under cover.
India is acting upon Hitler’s anachronistic propaganda-theorems: The bigger thee lie, the better the results. It is engaged in KautliyaKootaYudda (unprincipled warfare) and maya yuddha (war by trickery) against Pakistan.
A footnote to the above is that the facts mentioned are taken from the report ‘The Indian Chronicles’.
This report is dedicated to the memory of Professor Louis B. Sohn, considered as the “grandfather of international human rights law in the United States”, whose name had been hijacked by the malicious actors depicted in this report.
—The author is an Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi.