WION Edit: Compromised experts are the biggest threat to democracies

WION Delhi Dec 12, 2019, 06.13 PM(IST)

File photo of Pakistan army chief Qamar Bajwa. Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

From fake social media accounts to compromised experts - Pakistan army's propaganda campaign is growing.

It is said that propaganda is a monologue that is not looking for an answer, but an echo.

From fake social media accounts to compromised experts - Pakistan army's propaganda campaign is growing.

This year, we've run several reports that show how the Pakistani army runs social media accounts to spread fake news.

In April alone, Facebook removed more than 100 pages, groups and accounts linked to employees of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) - the Pakistani army media wing.

Nearly three million people followed these accounts. Imagine the reach of their lies. They deployed trolls to browbeat and bully people.

But after the crackdown, they changed the strategy.

The army began cultivating fake experts and planted them in the media ecosystem, not just in Pakistan but internationally as well.

Its a fact, discussions, debates, and opinions are the bread and butter of any media organisation. Subject experts have always had a place in the news business.

24-hour television has spawned a parallel industry - experts for hire.

As media organisations around the world have grown, so has the need for experts. It's an organised effort to influence public opinion.

Around the world, the term expert is used for a scientist, academic or researcher. They have special knowledge of a relevant subject. 

They also hold considerable influence in their respective fields. Now, the same influence is up for sale. Pakistan may be learning some of these tricks from china.

Beijing has been executing an ambitious strategy to re-shape the global information environment with cash. The Chinese are funding paid editorials or advertorials, journalists for positive coverage, even courting influencers to spread positive messages about China.

Compromised experts are a threat to democracy. And so, public opinion is manipulated, the truth is distorted

With social media, disinformation campaigns can be executed with ease.

Specialised military units, political operatives and bots are shaping the flow of information. All it takes is one misleading post by the so-called expert.

Deploying the mainstream media in this operation can dramatically amplify a disinformation campaign. This we say is intellectual; Jihad - the ISI's new mission.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)