Information Ministry launches twitter handle to counter fake news

ISLAMABAD: Keeping in view the rising instances of online false news, the Federal Information Ministry, MOIB, has set up a twitter handle to identify and debunk fake news.

The twitter handle titled “FakeNewsBusterMOIB @FakeNews_Buster” was set up on October 01, 2018 apparently after multiple instances of false news targeting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, PTI government surfaced on social media.

Immediately after the account was set up, it shared social media posts and debunked two instances of false news spreading against PTI government.

One instance involved multiple social media posts against PTI MNA Maleeka Bokhari. According to them, Maleeka had been appointed as head of Benazir income Support Program allegedly because she was sister of Prime Minister Imran’s Khan close friend and special assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari. However, Maleeka took to social media to clarify her position. It was also retweeted by FakeNewsBusterMOIB.

Another false news spreading on social media was that Prime Minister Imran Khan had appointed first lady Bushra Bibi’s daughter as PM advisor on women empowerment at a monthly salary of PKR 7,50,000. It was also identified by the twitter handle.

Quoting Information Minister Fawad Chaudhar, the twitter handle noted that fake news was eroding social media’s credibility and called upon twitter users to reject false news.

Meanwhile, journalists and activists expressed mixed feelings at this initiative.

GNN Senior Anchorperson Ghareeda Farooqi lauded this initiative on Twitter.

However, Asad Baig from Media Matters for Democracy noted that fact checking was not the government’s job.

Some called upon the government to not restrict this initiative to the benefit of PTI only.

Ironically,  multiple twitter accounts impersonating the official account has also surfaced.

Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.

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