ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday said fake news always had a strong hidden agenda of giving rise to conflicts among nations and within societies, and stressed awareness at public level was vital to ensure responsible and cautious use of social media.

Addressing at International Conference on Media and Conflict at Convention
Centre, the president said apart from positive aspects of social media, it was
being used as a modern tool of propaganda and fake news, which required
a constant vigilance.

President Alvi pointed out that today’s media around the world, had adopted
an approach of highlighting negatives to create sensationalism and market
their news products.

He mentioned that fake news could have three faces – misinformation based
on wrong information, disinformation with addition of incorrect content and
malinformation with cooked news.

He said a number of Pakistani media outlets also had a tendency to twist
facts and expressed dissatisfaction for himself, being quoted out-of-context
several times in interviews and news.

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President Alvi said most wars in the world were imposed on the basis of
misinformation to advance specific agendas, terming such countries and
stakeholders as ‘pickpockets of modern era’.

For example, the western media often gives prominence to news items
against Islam which has resulted in hatred and insecurity among Muslim
community, he added.

The president recalled that in the guise of justifying attack on Iraq in 90s, a series of fake news about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ was launched
which resulted in loss of millions of lives and inflicted huge damage to
property.

The domino effect continued in Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria, for which the
entire humanity paid a heavy price, he added.

President Alvi regretted that in today’s world, not morality but the volume
of trade had become the new criteria for justice.

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He said humans as part of their genetic disposition, had the ability to
register good or bad news and quoted a book ‘Factfulness’ by Hans
Rosling which focused that vast majority of human beings were wrong
about the state of the world.

President Alvi urged upon the nation to not to fall prey to vicious cycle
of misinformation which was also strictly prohibited as per Islamic
teachings.

He said fake news had the inherent capacity to severely damage families
and societies and quoted a few verses from Quran’s Surahs Nisa and
Al-Hujurat that provided a guidance on not propagating wrong information.

He said fake news had a strong influence on the last elections in Untied
States and feared that in Pakistan’s next election in 2023, social media
could be used in exploiting public opinion through fake imagery and news.