Latest Revelations on India – Daily Times

A fifteen-year disinformation operation conducted by India against Pakistan and China was reported by the EU Disinfo Laboratory in 2019, with fake media spreading false news and reports widely scattered across the world via digital platforms. After the last report in 2020, the most recent investigation by the EU Disinfo Lab in 2023 has once again exposed the endless Indian obsession promoting anti-Pakistani/Chinese narratives. The “nonexistent” sources and ghost “experts” carry the older trail, further evidence of the toxic disinformation campaigns launched by the world’s largest democracy.

Journalism plays an important role in people’s lives. It helps create awareness of current events around the world. However, the spread of news in the modern age is no longer limited by digitization. Each state promotes its propaganda through different channels, be it electronic media, print media or other media. Regardless of the medium, the message conveyed to the public plays an important role in influencing public opinion and opinion. But the fact of the matter is that facts play a huge role in establishing credibility, as credibility is associated with authenticity, not yellow journalism.

There are different players in the field. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, for example, aptly observed that there are bad actors producing bad sources. The Indian news agency (Asia News International), which is the focus of this disinformation campaign, used a number of non-existent journalists, organizations and experts to focus public attention on fabricated information. This unwarranted campaign was then carried by a number of Indian news channels, which further promoted such narratives.

It is the responsibility of states to resolve issues in question with one another, including border tensions, hybrid tactics or disinformation campaigns.

EU-Disinfo stated: “Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of these reports are reproduced in the Indian media, reaching hundreds of thousands if not millions of readers.”

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The report states that ANI (Asia News International) has repeatedly cited a think tank called the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), which was dissolved in 2014 (based in Toronto, Canada) and therefore no longer exists. This resurgent think tank uses Canadian university experts and fabricates fake testimonies on their behalf at conferences that never took place. For example, IFFRAS claims that in January 2020 there was a discussion on the Muslim Brotherhood, which was attended by four professors from the University of Montreal. However, two of the mentioned speakers told EU Disinfo that such an event had never taken place.

In 2021, ANI cited the Center for Political and Foreign Affairs (CPFA), a think tank that doesn’t exist. A thorough investigation revealed that some of the reports do not belong to real people. For example, a report entitled “Deception Games: Pakistan’s Eyewash Action against Terror Groups” authored by “Ronald Duchemin” was cited by ANI, but there was no evidence to support Duchemin’s existence or expertise in Pakistan. Similarly, ANI referred to a CPFA figure named “Mario de Gasperi” who made accounts of pro-Indian narratives, but no evidence of its existence has been found. Furthermore, in July 2021, ANI published another news article “European Parliament revokes Pakistan’s GSP+ status for abuse of blasphemy laws” based on its agenda of spreading disinformation campaigns related to Pakistan. No traces of such a retreat have been found either.

The main question is why the disinformation agenda being peddled by the Indian media, even after being exposed several times by the EU disinfo lab, has not been held accountable. Is this disinformation campaign affecting the stability nexus between India and Pakistan or China? The more India engages in the disinformation war, the more chaos will reign among the public and stability will be at stake. Not only will this affect stability, it will also undermine the credibility of Indian news outlets. In the long term, the people of India would no longer trust their news media and on a national and international level, the image of Indian news would be debunked and distorted.

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On the other hand, it is the responsibility of states to resolve issues in question with one another, including border tensions, hybrid tactics, or disinformation campaigns. States need to review the path they are following to achieve their goals. To do this, states must opt ​​for rational approaches that are based on the idea of ​​stability and truth. On the contrary, the use of such tactics aimed at destroying a state’s image through fabricated news, revived organizations and experts as pursued by India calls into question journalism in India and the reputation and authenticity of its institutions.

To put it at ease, key international actors should play a role in stamping out such campaigns. Political measures to promote state interests must also be developed at national level on the basis of ethical principles. Additionally, research analysts should promote the promise of addressing information warfare so it needs to be highlighted and discouraged both nationally and internationally.

The writer is a freelance columnist.


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