Updated Wednesday Sep 15 2021
On Tuesday, as journalists from across the country were protesting a proposed law that seeks greater control of Pakistan’s independent media and to crackdown on freedom of speech, the federal minister for information Fawad Chaudhry asked, in a tweet, how legislation to combat “fake news” could be against the media?
The answer is simple.
Since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power in 2018, its government officials and ministers have often dismissed and labelled accurate news stories, which they disagree with, as “fake news”.
In October 2018, a dedicated Twitter account titled, @FakeNews_Buster, was created by the ministry of information and broadcasting for the purpose of “exposing fake news”.
The account has repeatedly tagged news reports and informative tweets by working journalists, accusing them of spreading disinformation, and in the process making them vulnerable to trolling and online abuse.
Fake news, by definition, is a false news story, often of a sensational nature created with the intent to mislead or it is a story created by an outlet that pretends to be real but is fake.
Yet, overtime, the term “fake news” has been weaponized and used against Pakistani reporters and media outlets to clamp down on coverage government officials find disagreeable or critical.
Geo.tv has compiled examples of reports the ruling party flagged as “fake news” but were actually not:
Note - The story was updated on September 15, 2021