Indian journalists condemn misinformation about Karachi ‘civil war’ 

There was an explosion caused by a gas leak in Karachi, but there were no clashes between troops and police. (Reuters)
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Updated 24 October 2020

Indian journalists condemn misinformation about Karachi ‘civil war’ 

  • Indian media and social networking sites reported that clashes took place between the police and army, resulting in the death of several officers
  • Ties between Pakistan and India have been particularly tense since August last year, when New Delhi revoked the special autonomy of the disputed Kashmir region it governs

NEW DELHI: Indian journalists have condemned a “garbage fake news” wave from media outlets that published fake reports about a “civil war-like” situation in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

Outlets including News18, India Today and Zee News reported unrest in Pakistan’s biggest city in the wake of opposition protests. Many Indians also went on social media to spread the reports.

The misinformation came a day after an inquiry was ordered by the Pakistani army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, into the circumstances surrounding the police arrest of opposition leader Mohammad Safdar in Karachi. 

Indian media and social networking sites, however, reported that clashes took place between the police and army, resulting in the death of several officers.

“It is not a fake news, it is garbage fake news because there is certainly a problem in Pakistan but to exaggerate it to the point of falsification is the height of irresponsibility," Mumbai-based activist and columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni told Arab News.

“The Indian media wants to create an impression that Pakistan has become very unstable and chaotic with some fake news and some fake photographs. On the one hand, we call ourselves the world’s largest democracy, but it’s a democracy that feeds on the hatred for its neighbor. It reflects poorly on the Indian media and India as a nation. I strongly condemn it.”

Senior Indian journalists admitted to being confused about how such a hoax could take place and why.

“I am not sure how the Indian media spreading fake news about the happenings in Pakistan would help the Indian government,” Sanjay Kapoor, editor of the English-language publication Hard News, said.

“I am not sure India would benefit from this. Pandering to fake news reflects on all media, wherever they are located. It shows poorly on their professionalism. At the time of tension, truth is the casualty on both sides. Editors should be mindful everywhere that they do not succumb to propaganda. The media should do its job — reporting the truth and speaking truth to power.”

Ties between Pakistan and India have been particularly tense since August last year, when New Delhi revoked the special autonomy of the disputed Kashmir region it governs.

The Muslim-majority territory has been a source of hostility for decades between the two nuclear rivals, with both claiming the region in full but ruling in part.

"When there is a trust deficit, when there is no dialogue, when there is no political outreach, such exaggeration of news is possible,” Jatin Desai from Mumbai-based Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy told Arab News. 

The younger, social media-savvy generation was unsurprised that there were Indians peddling misinformation about Pakistan.

“If you look at the reporting on Pakistan in Indian media you will find that the domestic media is trying to portray the Islamic nation in a very negative way all the time,” University of Delhi student Siddhant Sarang said. “I am not surprised if the Indian media went overboard in its recent report on the political turmoil in Pakistan.”

Arab News contacted some of the news outlets that published the fake reports, but none of them responded.

Related


Frankly Speaking: Arab News premieres first talkshow with former PM of Pakistan

Updated 28 November 2020

Frankly Speaking: Arab News premieres first talkshow with former PM of Pakistan

  • Hosted by veteran journalist Frank Kane, program will interview movers and shakers, world policymakers
  • Each episode of the program is 20 minutes, with occasional additional reporting and interviews to be included throughout

LONDON: Arab News, the region’s leading English-language Middle East newspaper, is proud to announce its latest video product: “Frankly Speaking,” a recorded show that will interview and challenge movers and shakers, world policymakers and influential deciders on topics relating to the Arab world.

Hosted by veteran, award-winning journalist and senior Arab News business columnist, Frank Kane, who has interviewed influential business leaders and key politicians from around the world including Emirati tycoon, Khalaf Al-Habtoor, president of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Borge Brende, and Anthony Scaramucci, the former communications adviser to US President Donald Trump.

Each episode of the program is 20 minutes, with occasional additional reporting and interviews to be included throughout.

 

 

“Frankly Speaking” will be available on Arab New’s YouTube channel and on the program page on the Arab News website.

Commenting on the launch, Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas said: “As the leading English language news source on Saudi Arabia and Middle East, it was only natural for Arab News to expand its video offering and we are very proud to present 'Frankly Speaking' as our first product for our followers worldwide.”

“While editorial integrity can only be proven, the combination of the credibility of both the Arab News brand and the long experience and interview style of Frank Kane will ensure that each episode provides an intellectually stimulating debate and plenty of material for further discussion,” he said.

 

 

The first episode of “Frankly Speaking” launches on Saturday at 5 p.m. Riyadh time (2 p.m. GMT) and will feature former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who will talk about his own recipe for change in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s reforms, the difference between Islamabad’s relationship with Iran and with Saudi Arabia, as well as his views on Israel.