Fake news about Maryam Nawaz being shared online

Published October 13, 2018
A screengrab of the fake news screenshot circulating on social media.
A screengrab of the fake news screenshot circulating on social media.

Yet another fake screenshot doctored to pose as a Dawn.com news article surfaced on social media on Saturday.

The fake post attempts to mislead the public and stakeholders by suggesting that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz is expecting and falsely claims that "Dawn news" has obtained her medical reports.

The doctored image — besides reporting news which is completely false — also has a whole host of differences from what an authentic Dawn.com news article looks like.

In order to ensure authorities and the public do not fall prey to such mischievous machinations in future, the following points detail how it can be identified that the screenshot is fake.

1. Headline

A typical Dawn.com news article has a headline with only the opening letter capitalised, except for proper nouns which also begin with a capital letter. The headline in the fake screenshot has the first letter of every word capitalised.

Also, entire words are never written in block letters with the exception of acronyms such as NAB or PCB.

Besides this, a colon is used prior to indicating a source.

A good example to illustrate all of the points above is this headline:

'PPP nominates Aitzaz Ahsan as candidate for president: sources'

2. Twitter and print icons

A quick click on any of our news articles will reveal that the twitter bird and print icons are different from the ones shown in the fake screenshot.

The twitter bird has more pronounced feathers and the printer page has two dots, both of which are missing from the doctored image.

Note the twitter bird and printer page in this screenshot of an authentic Dawn.com article.
Note the twitter bird and printer page in this screenshot of an authentic Dawn.com article.

3. Stylistical differences with Dawn

The language used in the fake screenshot is not consistent with Dawn's style guide. Mistakes in sentence construction have been underlined in the image below.

Besides this, "Dawn news" is an incorrect attribution to any of our sources for news (Dawn refers to a newspaper source or reporter, Dawn.com a web reporter, and DawnNewsTV a television reporter) all of which are always italicised when mentioned in the body of the story.

Moreover, there are no paragraph breaks in the screenshot, which is never the case with a Dawn.com story.

Mistakes pointed out in the fake screenshot.
Mistakes pointed out in the fake screenshot.


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

From January to April, 2017 Dawn.com came under multiple cyber attacks where attempts were made to hack and hijack its official social media accounts and the accounts of its staff. The attempts failed. The statement released at the time reads:

“Hate speech and content that is blasphemous, indecent, prohibited, illegal, or likely to arouse societal discord or disturb tranquility will not be tolerated,” the statement said.

Hackers and malicious groups attempt to damage reputations and stir up virulent and negative campaigns to serve their agenda... Dawn had been a target of such online campaigns in the past, too.

The group sought its readers’ help in the “fight against hackers who are bent upon spreading fear, hatred and disinformation; who through their actions, are attacking our shared commitment to the progress of Pakistan”.

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