DFRAC Exclusive: Anti-India propaganda, fake and misleading news is being used by Pakistani media
The South Asia Times (@thesouthasiatim) is the Twitter handle of an online news portal. Which operates from Islamabad, Pakistan. The news portal claims that it covers news from South Asia related to China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, and European Union.
This Twitter handle is indulging in anti-India propaganda under the guise of news. This handle spreads fake and misleading news to surround India on issues of Muslims, Kashmiris, and human rights violations. Below we have given some fact checks which substantiate our claim.
1.#FACTCHECK: Did a Hindu restaurant in Bahrain deny entry to a Muslim woman wearing a hijab?
The South Asia Times claimed in its tweet amidst the hijab controversy in India that Bahrain authorities closed a Hindu pro-BJP/RSS restaurant because it refused to allow a woman wearing a hijab to enter their restaurant.
The truth is the manager is British not indian 🙏🏼 https://t.co/QBIb4eO71J
— Mariam naji 👁🇧🇭 (@Mariam1597) March 27, 2022
This claim of The South Asia Times has been denied by Maryam Naji, the woman involved in the controversy herself. She tweeted from her Twitter account @Mariam1597 that the owner of the restaurant was not Indian but British. Who denied her entry into the restaurant because of the hijab.
She wrote in her tweet, “The truth is that the managers are British, not Indian Nazis, or Indians.” Not only this, when a journalist asked her the name of the manager, she tweeted and said – “British manager named Lloyd. Also I want to mention that I am Muslim and I do not like racism because God’s land is big. It can handle all of us. I hope we live in peace, please stop doing this I told you he is British and I can identify the person whether he is Indian or not.
So it is clear that this claim is misleading.
2.#FACTCHECK: Hindu extremists of RSS/BJP attack Muslims with the sword in Karnataka.
The South Asia Times shared a video of the violence in another tweet, claiming that Hindu extremists of RSS/BJP attacked Muslims with swords in the Indian state of Karnataka, but when the Muslims protested, the attackers fled. #India #IslamophobiaInIndia.
To investigate the above claim, we converted the video into individual keyframes with the help of InVid tool and did a Google reverse image search on each keyframe, in this regard, we found the screenshot of viral video in News report published in Gujarati language on 20 MarchTV18.
સુરતમાં લુખ્ખાઓનો આતંક, દુકાનદાર ઉપર કર્યો તલવાર વડે હુમલો, ઘટના સીસીટીવીમાં કેદ #surat #Gujarat pic.twitter.com/uo5CH5DLEe
— News18Gujarati (@News18Guj) March 20, 2022
It was told in the report that two shopkeepers were attacked with swords by anti-social elements near Umiya Mata temple in Bhatha area of Surat. They were demanding ransom for a long time. This entire incident was captured in CCTV.
On the other hand, a police inspector of Salabatpura police station has denied any communal angle in the incident. He told that the victim and the accused related to the incident belong to the same community.
Hence the above claim is false.
3.#FACTCHECK: Did Pakistan reach 67th rank in the World Happiness Report 2022?
The South Asia Times claimed in one of its tweets that Pakistan has got 67 ranking in the World Happiness Report 2022.
To check the above claim, we analyzed the World Happiness Report. The investigation found that Pakistan is ranked 121st, not 67th, in the ranking of the World Happiness Report.
Several news websites like ‘The New Indian Express’ and ‘Pakistan Times’ have covered the World Happiness Report 2022 in their reports.
Therefore, Pakistan’s claim of being ranked 67th in the ranking of the World Happiness Report is fake.
Kashmir Muslims and Human Rights Violations
The South Asia Times is raising the issue of Jammu and Kashmir loudly in its tweet. The account addresses the separatists in Kashmir as freedom fighters. It also accuses the Indian Army of killing innocent Kashmiris and accuses the Government of India of giving more representation to Hindus in the Muslim majority area of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
At the same time, the account also claimed that, Hindus are also making violence against Muslims and it is a part of their anti-India propaganda. Tweets have also been made from this account regarding hijab, mob lynching, and insult of Prophet Muhammad.
Politics of Punjab:
At the same time, the Twitter handle also took the politics of Punjab as propaganda against India. This led to the arrest of BJP leader Tejinder Singh Bagga from Delhi by the AamAadmi Party government of Punjab and Jaswant Singh Gajjan Majra, the Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Punjab by the BJP government at the Centre, promoting a political crisis and a fight between the governments.
Sri Lanka and Nepal:
Apart from this, propaganda has also been made against India about Nepal and Sri Lanka. An attempt was made to blame India for the economic crisis in Sri Lanka. Simultaneously, India was blamed for the Karachi blasts, accusing India of using female suicide bombers in Sri Lanka through the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The wordcloud below states that some of the words used in this account’s tweets include “Pakistan”, “Minister”, “Ukraine”, “Imran Khan”, “India”, etc.
The engagement timeline shows that the account was not very active before January 2022. But after January 22, the number of posts and engagements from this account has increased.
Types of post
The pie chart below shows how posts from this account are handled. The data shows that 98.5% of posts are tweets and 0.344% are replies, the rest are retweets.
Types of media
The pie chart given below gives the information related to the media. The data shows that most of the time photos and videos were posted from the account.
Use of hashtags
Below is a graph showing the top hashtags used by this account. In which #Breaking, #Pakistan, #Ukraine, #Afghanistan, #India, #UkraineRussiaWar are included.
Below is a graph showing the users whose accounts were mentioned or tagged the most times. Most mentioned @ImranKhanPTI then @ForeignOfficePK, followed by @Zlj516, @PTIOfficial, etc.
Under the guise of news from Pakistan, propaganda is being done against India on issues like minorities, Kashmir, Muslims, human rights abuses etc. Attempts are also being made to influence India’s internal politics and foreign policy. Fake news and misleading news are being used for this.