By Shazia Anwer Cheema
Anonymity and accessibility of social media have provided a free ground for malignant propaganda, threatening even strong states and the beneficiaries of this situation are those who have un-substantiated narratives to offer.
France 24 found PTI Campaign against Pakistan Army is Fake
While writing a research paper or even an opinion in print media anonymity gets compromised and one does not write unauthentic, illogical, and manipulative discourse while individuals and groups on virtual space avoid verifiable platforms where their authenticity can be directly questioned, that’s why their preferred mean of communication include, trends, hashtags, based on the cheap and deep fake. The recent trend Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf launched was “This is the Real Feminism”.
France 24 caught fake videos and photos that PTI was using since last week to get the attention of international feminist organizations
PTI was quite successful in attracting the support of civil society because it is always easy to inflict damage with manipulative content, it serves two purposes; one it affects the population having no or minimal knowledge of the mechanism of deep and cheap fakes, due to their ignorance or innocence take everything as it is and become the victim and later part of hate-driven propaganda, second purpose achieved is called a deviation from actual problems.
Artificial Intelligence-generated photos and videos are being presented as images from PTI’s nationwide demonstrations in support of former prime minister Imran Khan.
Pakistan political turmoil: These ‘PTI protest’ images aren’t real says France 24
These items are just some links to a chain of propaganda PTI has launched to defame Pakistan as a country and the military of Pakistan as an institution. However, this all propaganda has been exposed by Vedika Bahl of France 24 television who takes a closer look at the misinformation that’s circulating in international virtual space.
In the edition of “Truth or Fake”, France 24 caught fake videos and photos that PTI was using since last week to get the attention of international feminist organizations, claiming that PTI female followers are writing a new history of feminist resistance under the slogan of “This is the Real Feminism”.
Vedika Bahl thoroughly explained frame by frame and confirmed that PTI was using expensive tools of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to produce visual material for campaigning (against) Pakistan.
I have been writing since long that PTI is following dangerous self-serving agenda and successfully avoiding verifiable platforms where their authenticity can be directly questioned, that’s why their preferred means of communication include, trends, and hashtags, based on cheap and deep fakes.
Contemporary propaganda acquires the connotation of negativity and becomes synonymous with maligning, untruthful, and destructive. The very basis of propaganda, positive or negative is semiotics. Propaganda requires meaning-making tools and all the aspects which can create meaning become a resource for propagation.
Let me simplify it— A word, a brush, a picture, a gesture a melody, all are meaning-making tools, and their use cannot detach from personal biases and that is the beauty of it, having numerous expressions coming from uncountable individuals create our collective knowledge. However, this human cognitive ability can be played with like all other brain functions. Our cognitive system can be manipulated with the help of manipulative tools. Now AI can easily produce material (audio-visual as well as text form) while replacing human meaning-making tools. This service is expensive but it is very successful and that is why PTI having foreign donations and funding is continuously using these tools for last almost 10 years, now its game is being exposed because first time its content is being challenged within the country and abroad.
It is pertinent to mention that propagandists study the core beliefs of the target group, gauges the flexibility of intermediate beliefs, and then work on the most excepted meaning-making tool because anything not connected to core beliefs can never be perceived as an automatic thought.
Imran Khan’s feminist propaganda is a sellable commodity especially abroad although domestically (inside Pakistan) he propagates a different version of women like his own wife. The entire world must have seen the bizarre recent appearance of his wife in the Lahore High Court where she was covered with white sheets because Imran Khan believes that everything outside is sinful and impure and his wife who is pure and pious must not be contaminated by the extended polluted world.
He knows his domestic followers will hail this version of purity but for international maneuvering, he presented a different woman of her party with a different persona, a liberal and rebellious woman standing in front of oppression and fighting for her rights but an independent international media has exposed his inner conflicts. He always has a stereotypical image of good and bad women and according to his vision his wife who is all covered sitting inside the house and obeying him is his prototype of a good woman and all other women who are not sitting inside (housewives) are not covered in white sheets are bad women.
He is anti-liberal and a known misogynist who openly bullies women who assert themselves and don’t agree with his political thoughts. But as a cunningly manipulative individual, he tries to create a fabricated narrative for the Western audience just to claim that he is a liberal feminist.
It may be remembered India had been using such tools against Pakistan and EU DisinfoLab uncovered, more than 750 media outlets in 116 countries; over 550 website domain names registered; the resurrection of dead people; the impersonation of EU institutions, and direct control of more than 10 NGOs accredited to the UN Human Rights Council, utilized for the purpose of pushing fake news and false Indian propaganda against Pakistan since 2005.
But after watching France 24 “Fact or Fake” digging the truth, I could not blame India for its damage to Pakistan’s reputation, after all, he is considered our enemy, but Imran Khan who is the most honest, charismatic, fair and handsome among all, claiming to be the protector of Pakistan is playing with Pakistan’s reputation and sovereignty. I do not think after having Imran Khan we need another enemy.
Note: Writer Shazia Anwer Cheema is an author, columnist, and foreign affairs expert who writes for national and international media. She is a doctoral student and researcher in semiotics and philosophy of communication at Charles University in Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.