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World

265 Indian-backed fake media outlets found worldwide influencing EU, UN against Pakistan

European NGO DisinfoLab report says these media websites aimed to influence public perceptions on Pakistan by multi
14 Nov 2019
  • European NGO DisinfoLab report says these media websites aimed to influence public perceptions on Pakistan by multiplying its iterations on search engines.
  • Times of Geneva published and produced videos covering events and demonstrations criticising Pakistan’s role in the Kashmir conflict.

A European non-governmental group DisinfoLab has revealed that a worldwide network of 265 ‘fake’ news outlets are being managed by an Indian network to influence the European Union and the United Nations with content critical of Pakistan.

In its study in October, the EU DisinfoLab found out that several websites copy-pasted content which mostly included articles and op-eds related to minorities in Pakistan and India-related matters from unusual press agencies.

The European non-governmental group uncovered that that EP Todaywhich covers European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, was plagiarising news from Russia Today and Voice of America since a long time.

Upon further investigation, the EU DisinfoLab discovered that EP Today is managed by Indian stakeholders, with ties to a large network of think tanks, NGOs, and companies from the Srivastava Group.

"We also found that the IP address of the Srivastava Group is also home to the obscure online media 'New Delhi Times' and the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), which are all based at the same address in New Delhi, India," the report said.

Only recently, the report further states, 27 Members of the European Parliament were invited by IINS to meet with Prime Minister Modi and visit Kashmir.

In another discovery, the EU DisinfoLab found that Times of Geneva, which is approaching 35 years in business, also served Indian lobbying interests in Geneva towards the UN. The online newspaper also published the same content as eptoday.com, including videos covering events and demonstrations criticising Pakistan’s role in the Kashmir conflict.

The EU DisinfoLab found evidence that both EP Today and Times of Geneva had extremely strong ties to a network of NGOs and think tanks, such as the European Organisation for Pakistani Minorities and Pakistani Women’s Human Rights Organisation.

Analysis of the fake websites by the EU DisinfoLab revealed that most of the sites were named after an extinct local newspaper or spoof real media outlets. They republished anti-Pakistan content on the rest of the influence Indian network— including fake outlets such as EP Today, 4NewsAgency, Times Of Geneva and New Delhi Times. Most websites had a Twitter account as well.

According to the DisinfoLab’s analysis, the purpose of these fake news outlets was to influence public perceptions on Pakistan by multiplying iterations of the same content available on search engines. The report further said that these fake news websites aimed to influence international institutions and elected representatives with coverage of specific events and demonstrations.

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