A screenshot of a fake news story doctored to look like an article on Dawn.com surfaced on social media on Tuesday, in an attempt to mislead the public by implying that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Faisal Vawda had withdrawn a petition against the alleged corruption of Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar.

The image is cropped to show only the fake story's headline and text, and is doctored to resemble Dawn.com.

The first paragraph of the poorly written 'story' reads:

“Faisal Vawda Withdrawal Sindh High Court a petition against alleged corruption in Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).”

While the creators of the fake post were able to mimic Dawn.com fonts in photo editing software, they were unable to compose a proper sentence following Dawn's style guide and standards. They were also unable to compose a story longer than one line.

The screenshot of the fake news story.
The screenshot of the fake news story.

The post can be easily judged to be fake considering the glaring grammatical errors and deviations from Dawn style. For example, multiple words in the headline and text start with letters in uppercase, which is against style, as can be seen on any story on the site.

Moreover, only the first word of a sentence may start with an uppercase letter (apart from proper nouns) according to the rules of English grammar, which have been violated.

Additionally, it is Dawn style to introduce every person with their respective office, rank or post. The creators of this fake news did not do so.

Dawn also spells out abbreviations on their first use, which means that a Dawn story would have written (SHC) after spelling out Sindh High Court in the opening paragraph.

It is pertinent to mention that Faisal Vawda through his counsel had moved the SHC last month arguing why, when funds worth billions of rupees have been granted to the KMC during the last 20 months for development of the provincial metropolis, the overall situation of the city has remained unchanged.

Noting Mayor Wasim Akhtar and others as respondents, Vawda had alleged that there was "corruption in every section of KMC" and pleaded that the SHC issue a directive to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) about holding an inquiry in this regard.

Multiple attempts

This is not the first attempt to mislead the public by circulating fake news using the Dawn brand.

Earlier in June, a Facebook post had surfaced on social media attempting to mislead the public and regional stakeholders by suggesting that Afghanistan had officially accepted the Durand Line as an official border.

The fake story had presented an image of Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and falsely claimed that the recognition of the Durand Line was discussed in a meeting between the two.

The doctored image, which also copied elements of Dawn's social media and Facebook layout, led to the Afghan National Security Council (NSC) issuing a press release that mistakenly assumed the post was legitimate.

A complete breakdown of how the Facebook post was fake can be seen here.