Last year in December Russia’s lower house of parliament banned Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from entering its premises, a day after the Russian government declared the organizations “foreign agents.” Many were upset about this and called it an attack on the “Freedom of Speech” including myself as I am always against silencing voices or attacking the freedom of speech, I believe criticism gives us an opportunity to reflect on our mistakes and a chance to fix them.
As much as I advocate for the freedom of speech I also strongly defy the distribution of fake multimedia news and if you have read my article about the 5th generation war I have emphasized on the need of countering fake news and posts on social media with facts and original sources. Recently I came across the twitter profile of the leader of the newly formed ethnic movement in Pakistan and was shocked to see that many of the posts on his profile were either fake or photoshopped, I was already shilly-shallying about this movement but seeing fake photos and blunt propaganda made it easy for me to understand the motives and intentions behind it.
I am sharing some of the tweets from that specific profile been convincingly refuted by different Pakistani social media users.
List of tweets using fake pictures by Manzoor Pashteen for propaganda purposes. He rebrands all voilent acts by TTP & terrorists as acts by Army including APS incident. Typical TTP sympathiser mindset. Now TTP apologists & sympathizers are talking about human rights & peace. https://t.co/wp6vpRleNW
— Saad (@Saad__tweets) March 20, 2018
— Asfandyar Bhittani (@BhittaniKhannnn) March 20, 2018
— Abid Atozai (@AbidAtozai) March 31, 2018
It was then on 8th of April when I understood the reason behind Russia’s ban on American news agencies like VOA and RFERL when this ethnic movement was having a public gathering and the above-mentioned media agencies crossed all the limits of being biased and subversive, they were caught posting fake and photoshopped photos just to support a movement which is very controversial in Pakistan because of its leader’s wicked attempts to incite ethnic violence and inducing people to pick guns against Pakistan Army.
Propaganda march exposed again!
— Asfandyar Bhittani (@BhittaniKhannnn) April 8, 2018
That was the moment when I felt really proud of the youth of Pakistan that how they countered all these fake posts with truth, corrected them publicly and on social media.
Following are the deceitful posts and photos shared by as the Russians would say “Foreign Agents”.
Checkout the standard of afghani origin VOA international broadcaster 😂She works at @voadeewa, just imagine the fake propaganda VOA deewa churns out @VOANews@VOADirector@URDUVOA@peaceforchangepic.twitter.com/z57R7v85Ev
— maXes (@maXes_MB) April 10, 2018
When the Official profile of U.S. state-owned VOA News was caught posting fake photo and story they had no choice but to delete their post, they forgot that the screenshot technology is there for a reason :))
— Farhan K Virk (@FarhanKVirk) April 10, 2018
سبحان اللہ کہہ کر شئیر کریں۔
ایک “افغان ماں” جس کا بیٹا 5 اپریل کو ہلمند میں قتل ہوا،
وہ 8 اپریل کو “سواتی ماں” بن گئی اور اس کا مقتول بیٹا “مسنگ پرسن” بن گیا۔
اور “PTM ریلی سے 12 گھنٹے پہلے” پشاور پہنچ گئی۔
یہ ہم نہیں، PTM اور اس کے افغان/امریکی سپانسرز کہتے ہیں۔ #PTM_کے_معجزےpic.twitter.com/YIAKmR9HXg
— خانہ بدوش (@Nomadzai) April 9, 2018
An Afghan journalist’s fake tweet picked by up by PTM’s handle, and then by VOA. Turns out the picture is not from Peshawar, but Afghanistan.
And no, I’m not ISPR sponsored. Only opposed to this well coordinated, nefarious propaganda from outside over grievances of our people. pic.twitter.com/JNqz7dzODf
— Ashar Jawad (@AsharJawad) April 8, 2018
Since this journalist from VOA News has crossed all the limits of propaganda and misinformation I had a suggestion for her bosses: :))
VOA is well known for its yellow journalism but this is some next level shit😅. I am sure @StateDept can afford better photoshop experts than this.
I love how #PTM has not only created rifts between political parties but also exposed the black sheeps in the media.#KeepItComing👏 https://t.co/Yrl7MqqptB
— Abid Atozai (@AbidAtozai) April 11, 2018
VOA was born out of the propaganda efforts of the US government during WWI and has continued its journey and presence in war/conflict infected regions of the world. VOA is funded entirely by U.S. taxpayers ( according to BBG annual budget of $224.7 million) and its reports and programs can be widely received in the United States and around the world via the internet and social media. The US government spends millions of dollars every year on VOA and hires locals who can speak the local language and can talk to the regional population in their particular cultural context.
Even though the intentions and motives behind these fake and seditious posts are not clear yet since VOA officials or its journalists have not issued any official statement to clarify if the contents were posted by mistake or was just part of planned disruption. However, if we go through the social media profiles of the most of the VOA Journalists covering Pakistan and Afghanistan their timelines look like they have extreme hate for the state of Pakistan and are either posting contents with frenzy, hysteria and delirium or are having personal adversaries with the state of Pakistan. Like this Twitter user claimed the journalist from VOA told her that he has a personal grievance with the state of Pakistan.
Journalists of @voadeewa are settling their personal grudges against #Pakistan using @StateDept owned @VOANews. Deewa’s journalists venomous propaganda about Pakistan is not new but this one told me he is taking revenge@statedeptspox should take notice.@VOADirector@akbarayazi1pic.twitter.com/NpFl3f5PI0
— Amreen Durrani (@AmreenDurrani) 4 March 2018
Despite these problems, however, some of the veteran VOA reporters, and a few new ones as well, continue to provide excellent and balanced reporting in English and in many other languages. Unfortunately, their reporting is undermined by bias and partisanship of the rest of VOA output.
If I keep writing about the biased & iniquitous posts and contents by the official social media handles and journalists of VOA and other foreign media in Pakistan it will take me weeks to complete this article. So the question is if the youth of Pakistan is winning the 5th generation warfare against the phoney journalists and charlatan media organizations? The answer is YES! Big Time!!