EU activist seeks legal action against India over fake news network

Published December 21, 2020
A European Union-based human rights activist has called for institution of a lawsuit against the Indian government to prevent recurrence of the propaganda. — File photo
A European Union-based human rights activist has called for institution of a lawsuit against the Indian government to prevent recurrence of the propaganda. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Describing the EU DisinfoLab’s revelations about an Indian network involved in a fake news campaign as “enormously damaging”, a European Union-based human rights activist has called for institution of a lawsuit against the Indian government to prevent recurrence of such propaganda.

“This should have consequences for Indian government that has the final responsibility. The Indian government should be held accountable for this in the court,” said Mr Vermaut, an official member of the International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms, an NGO with participatory status to the United Nations ECOSOC committee.

In an interview with Islamabad Policy Research Institute on Sunday, he suggested that all the victim parties needed to sit down together for legal proceedings against India for the “enormous damage” caused to Pakistan, China, the European Union, the United Nations as well as the minorities living in India, who were already suffering due to policies of New Delhi.

“If we do not do this, new sites will be created tomorrow. We will have to act on this,” said Mr Vermaut, who is also president of PostVersa, Human Rights and Fundamental Rights chapter.

Says EU DisinfoLab has made largest exposure of fake news sites in world

He said that the EU DisinfoLab’s revelations showed that even the Indian people were deceived by their government as it pretended to have the support of the largest parliament in the world and also the EU.

“Who would have ever thought that this would be possible that we could be so deceived today in 2020. No one would have ever thought that a country like India is dealing with such matters.”

Mr Vermaut said that he believed that such fake news campaigns could also be the manifestation of Indian jealousy over rising Pakistan which was attracting huge Chinese investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He stressed the need for “disinfecting” internet and freeing it from such fake websites and a large scale investigation into the issue.

Mr Vermaut observed that the campaign was just meant to isolate Pakistan and China and portray a good image of India.

The human rights activist said that it was the largest exposure of fake news sites in the world which had never happened before.

“This is of course not excusable. It is a form of propaganda that tries to put all Pakistani citizens and all Chinese people in a bad light. European Union was also put in bad light by associating it with its so-called support to Narendra Modi,” he added.

Mr Vermaut said it seemed that Indian intelligence services were involved in such matters as the false information drive was purely meant to hurt Pakistan and China.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2020

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