Russia accuses BBC of spreading ‘terrorist’ ideologies

The BBC said in a statement sent to AFP that it “fully complies with the legislation and regulations of every country” in which it operates. (SPA)
Updated 11 January 2019
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Russia accuses BBC of spreading ‘terrorist’ ideologies

  • The BBC said in a statement sent to AFP that it “fully complies with the legislation and regulations of every country” in which it operates

MOSCOW: Russia’s media watchdog accused the BBC Thursday of spreading the ideologies of “terrorist groups” via online publications of its Russian service, the latest in a tit-for-tat row over media impartiality.
Roskomnadzor, the state communications and media watchdog, said it would investigate whether the BBC was breaking the law.
This was the latest volley in a wave of rhetoric against the BBC, after Britain’s broadcasting regulator Ofcom last year said the Moscow-funded RT channel had broken broadcasting standards.
“Currently we have discovered materials which transmit the ideologies of international terrorist groups (quotes of terrorist Al-Baghdadi)” on the BBC’s Russian language website, Roskomnadzor said in a statement.
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is the leader of the Islamic state jihadist group, also known as Daesh.
Russian law does not forbid quoting individuals considered “terrorists,” however any mention of such outlawed groups has to come with the disclaimer that the group is banned in Russia.
The watchdog said it would probe whether material broadcast by the BBC “corresponds with Russian anti-extremism legislation.”
The BBC said in a statement sent to AFP that it “fully complies with the legislation and regulations of every country” in which it operates.
The Russian statement did not cite any specific articles or dates.
Roskomnadzor also said it had requested documents from the BBC’s Russian services to investigate whether it was breaking a new law limiting foreign ownership of Russian media.
BBC’s Russian service is limited to the Internet, but it has expanded in recent years and has many top reporters on the team dealing with often sensitive political subjects.
Britain’s Ofcom said in December it had found violations of impartiality rules in seven of RT’s shows broadcast after the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The statement was not followed by any sanctions.
Moscow said at the time that any proceedings against the BBC were a “mirror measure” for Britain’s “constant propaganda against RT,” a state-owned channel.


Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

An Egyptian carries a load of newspapers in Cairo, Egypt, in this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2014. (AP)
Updated 16 June 2019
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Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

  • ‘The fake accounts ... are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners’

CAIRO: Egypt is reported to have 4 to 6 million fake news pages on social media accounts, according to Ali Hosni, undersecretary at of the General Directorate of Information and Relations at the Egyptian Interior Ministry.
The fake accounts, made to spread false information, are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners, he added.
Egypt has faced a flood of false rumors on an almost weekly basis, with claims such as that a newly appointed minister was in fact dead, or that of a girl kidnapped in the Beheira, who turned out to have runaway to avoid taking her exams.
According to a recent global survey, 86 percent of internet users have admitted that they have fallen for fake news online. The survey also showed that Egyptians were the most gullible in terms of fake news.

Prohibitory step
The government passed a law prohibiting fake news in an attempt to control the problem. The law, passed in July 2018, states that social media accounts with over 5,000 followers will be treated as media outlets, and their owners could be subjected to fines or prison for spreading fake news.
Responses to the law were skeptical, as people wondered what defined fake news, while others found the law to be vague. With the global survey’s results, it can be presumed that the 2018 fake news law did not have too much of an impact.
There have been multiple reports of social media accounts masquerading as officials and in Egypt turning out to be fake. One, the page for Education Minister Mahmoud Abo Nasr, had 80,000 Facebook followers on it — his genuine official page had only 55,000 followers.