WhatsApp seeks to stem fake news ahead of Pakistan election

A man poses with a smartphone in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration September 14, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 24 July 2018
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WhatsApp seeks to stem fake news ahead of Pakistan election

  • Pakistan’s leading English-language daily listed ten tips on differentiating rumors from fact
  • WhatsApp had come under pressure from Indian authorities to put an end to the spread of rumors

ISLAMABAD: The hugely popular WhatsApp messaging service began a week-long publicity campaign in Pakistan Wednesday offering tips to spot fake news, days before the country holds a general election.
“Together we can fight false information,” says the full-page ad in Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English-language daily, listing ten tips on differentiating rumors from fact.
“Many messages containing hoaxes or fake news have spelling mistakes. Look for these signs so you can check if the information is accurate,” it says.
“If you read something that makes you angry or afraid, ask whether it was shared to make you feel that way. And if the answer is yes, think twice before sharing it again.”
WhatsApp also announced the implementation in the country of a new feature allowing recipients to see if a message is original or forwarded.
The company had bought full-page advertising in India on July 10 after a wave of lynchings in the country were linked to viral “fake news” spread by WhatsApp about alleged child kidnappings.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, had come under pressure from Indian authorities to put an end to the spread of rumors, which have caused the deaths of more than 20 people in the past two months.
Millions of people use WhatsApp in neighboring Pakistan, where rumors, false information and conspiracy theories are ubiquitous. Such messages spread quickly, with no real way for recipients to check their veracity.
Pakistan also has a history of mob violence, and videos such as the murder of Mashal Khan — a journalism student accused of blasphemy who was killed by a mob in April 2017 — circulate rapidly.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for July 25.


Saudi Arabia permanently revokes beIN Sports license

Updated 20 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia permanently revokes beIN Sports license

  • The GAC accused the Qatari-owned channel of exploiting its dominant position in the run-up to the 2016 European Championships
  • In April last year, beIN Sports was hit with a fine of SR10,000 and ordered to stop its monopolizing practices

LONDON: Saudi Arabian authorities have permanently revoked the license of beIN Sports after accusing the Qatari-owned channel of illegal monopolizing practices.
The General Authority for Competition (GAC) released a statement revealing its decision and announcing it had also slapped beIN Sports with a SR10 million ($2.6 million) fine due to the alleged violations.
“The GAC clarified it has received many complaints from citizens and participants against beIN Sports since March 2016 for violating competition rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” it said in a statement.
The GAC accused the Qatari-owned channel of exploiting its dominant position in the run-up to the 2016 European Championships, forcing fans wanting to watch the football tournament to subscribe to other channels, including non-sports ones.
In addition, football-hungry viewers were forced to renew their subscription to the main channels for an entire year as a condition to watch the Euros, even though their subscription should have covered the period during which the competition, won by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, took place.

 

In April last year, beIN Sports was hit with a fine of SR10,000 and ordered to stop the monopolizing practices.
“These are clear violations of the competition’s rules. The board of directors thus decided to take the appropriate measures to end these practices and the monopoly violations committed by BeIN,” the statement said at the time.
It is beIN’s failure to implement changes that has resulted in the complete revoking of its license. The channel appealed against the 2017 decision before the administrative court of the board of grievances in Riyadh. The administrative justice found the case of BeIN Sport against the GAC inadmissible.
As a result, the channel’s license was permanently revoked and it was hit with the mammoth fine.
The move is the latest in a long-running dispute between the Kingdom and the Qatari channel. Saudi authorities have accused beIN Sports of engaging in a media smear campaign against the country.
During the World Cup the channel was also accused of infringing broadcasting standards by “politicizing” coverage of the football tournament.
It led legal experts to claim that FIFA should launch an investigation into why the broadcaster brought politics into play during coverage of World Cup games.
The broadcaster was not immediately available for comment.

FACTOID

3.2bn – Number of people around the world who tuned in to watch the World Cup, according to FIFA – almost half the world’s population.