A European non-government organization (NGO), EU Disinfo Lab released a report on 9th December which highlighted an Indian disinformation campaign against Pakistan. According to the report, India has used more than 750 fake media outlets and organizations to discredit its political rivals in front of international bodies to push its agenda.
The report has revealed that India has been targeting the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) with anti-Pakistan propaganda. Their content is primarily designed to reduce Pakistan’s image and further Indian narrative. The NGO said that this was the largest network of disinformation they have exposed so far.
How Big Is Indian Disinformation Campaign Network?
A company registered as a business management consultant, Srivastava Group established the network in 2005. Reports from both years mentioned a person named Ankit Srivastava behind all global activity of this network. It has been waging an information war against Pakistan for 15 years through fake inter-connected websites and channels. The key organization that helps all these outlets is the popular Asian News International (ANI). It is one of India’s largest news agencies that produce content that is copy-pasted on hundreds of fake websites to amplify the content’s agenda. ANI also has a strategic relationship with international news agency Reuters, which said that it is not responsible for ANI’s content.
The fake news is not only harmful to Pakistan but also to EU and international bodies because India is pretending that these authorities support its cause
In 2019, the same NGO exposed this Indian propaganda maligning Pakistan and pushing Indian interests through 200 fake media outlets in 65 countries. The network has now expanded to over 750 fake websites in 116 countries. More than that, 10 state-funded NGOs (which are basically dormant) are constantly giving discouraging remarks against Pakistan at United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Even public has been suspicious of the single-track approach some news outlets use in India which could be a part of this network.
Several vague think tanks and additional 550 registered domain names are involved in this network. More than 400 domain names were found linked to Ankit and its organizations. The network uses fake identities of commoners, human right activists, journalists and other professionals to operate websites. The so-called think tanks and dead NGOs in Geneva coordinate marches, lobbies, and contaminate UN press conferences. Report added that they are provided full protocol and opportunity to speak on behalf of recognized organizations. However, the exposing party did not provide details about the direct relationship between this network and Indian government.
Implications Of Indian Propaganda
It is not clear what this revelation will do to the world and its leaders. The malicious cyber network of India grew relentlessly under their noses without obstruction. It is alarming that nobody cares about how news is distributed in all those countries, not even authorities.
India assumed that by spreading this disinformation it would gain more help from the international institutions.
Pakistan’s Response to India’s Disinformation Campaign
Pakistan has repeatedly alerted the United Nations about some red flags in Indian activity but they did not take Pakistan seriously due to its inglorious history. Now Pakistan has again urged the international community to take note of this rogue nation which has become a threat to global peace and security. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has also submitted a dossier to UN, which allegedly detailed Indian-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan. The premier was diplomatically accusing India of utilizing that revenue from a disinformation campaign to fund extremism in Pakistan.
According to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, these fake organizations have manipulated EU and its law so the authorities must probe. He requested international news outlets including Reuters to end ties with ANI. Moreover, general public and journalists raised a point that EU and UN must review their judgement about Pakistan during the 15 years India played with their information tools.
There has not been much talk of this incident which has been alarming for many considering the size of this network. This shows how some fake news can manipulate the mind of average reader into looking the other way
India played a long game to continue pushing false narratives down people’s throats. Now when it was exposed Pakistan saw this as an opportunity to highlight India’s alleged terrorism in Pakistan. In the opinion of many, the world should not require more proof against India
While promoting itself as a secular nation, India is paving the way for systematic racism against minorities especially Muslims. However, EU Disinfo Lab also added a disclaimer in the end which included that Pakistan has also used inauthentic information to push its interest. Perhaps Pakistan’s fake news was not that maniacal and expansive as Indian one.
Apart from a well-structured disinformation campaign as EU Disinfo Lab exposed, Indian media is notorious for misreporting incidents happening across the border. Just recently, after the abduction of a Police officer in Sindh during the PDM rally, Indian media falsely claimed that a civil war was going on in Karachi; the situation was depicted well in the form of funny civil war memes on Pakistani social media.