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265 Fake News Websites in Over 65 Countries Managed By Indian Influence Networks: Study

NEW DEHLI – As many as 265 fake local news websites in more that 65 countries, including the US, Canada, Brussels and Geneva, are managed by Indian influence networks with an aim to influence international institutions along with elected representatives and sway public perception on Pakistan, a study by NGO EU DisinfoLab has found.
One of the purposes of these websites is to influence public perceptions on Pakistan by multiplying iterations of the same content available on search engines, the study found.
The study found that most of these websites were named after an obsolete local newspaper or real media sources and republished material from several news agencies including KCNA, Voice of America and Interfax. Some of these are theirrorofaustralia.com, thetimesofceylon.com, thehoovergazette.com, theseattlestar.com, miamivalleychannel.com, and dublingazette.com.
Such pages have provided coverage of the same Indian-related protests and events as well as republications of the Indian influence network’s anti-Pakistan content.
Pointing out that most of these websites also have a Twitter account, EU DisinfoLab found that these fake mediaoutlets were created to ‘ influence international institutions and elected representatives covering specific events and demonstrations; providing useful press material to NGOs to reinforce their credibility and thus have an impact on public perceptions of Pakistan’.
The EU DisinfoLab said that the East StratCom of the European External Action Service— the EU Disinformation Task Force — discovered in October that eptoday.com— the website of a self-proclaimed European Parliament newspaper in Brussels — had re-published a large number of news directly from Russia Today and Voice of America.
“We suddenly found a large number of minority articles and op-eds in Pakistan as well as other India-related issues among this syndicated material.”
It was then discovered that EP Today was managed by Indian stakeholders with ties to a large network of think tanks, NGOs, and companies from the Srivastava Group.
“We also found that the IP address of the Srivastava Group is also home to the obscure online media ‘New Delhi Times’ and the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), which are all based at the same address in New Delhi, India.”
A few weeks later, the IINS welcomed 27 Members of European Parliament to visit Kashmir and meet with Indian Prime Minister Modi.
On further investigation, the EU DisinfoLab found that timesofgeneva.com–an online “newspaper” that “approaches 35 years of business,” has the same content as EP Today and produces videos covering events and demonstrations criticizing the role of Pakistan in the conflict in Kashmir.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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