The upcoming general elections in Pakistan are scheduled for Thursday, and there is a noticeable increase in the social media campaigns being conducted by various political groups. Dr. Khurram Shahzad, a scholar from Punjab University, has disclosed that political parties are integrating propaganda and misinformation into news reporting. This is a concerning pattern, as it might create an environment of uncertainty.
The researcher conducted a rigorous scientific examination of media coverage during general elections in Pakistan as well as other nations. According to his research, about eleven distinct techniques are employed to integrate false information, misleading information, and propaganda into news articles, particularly during electoral periods.
Social media propaganda helps political parties win elections
In addition, he provided examples of attention-grabbing headlines and tickers that rely on partial truths. Instances such as “Another corruption case initiated,” “Order issued for jail release,” “Rigging scheme uncovered!” or “Voters assault candidate!” and similar expressions are commonly observed on social media post thumbnails.
Dr. Shahzad cautions that false information propagates swiftly during general elections. “Individuals disseminate information without verification, and modified posts exacerbate the confusion.”
Dr. Shahzad has devised an innovative scientific methodology that can detect propagandist material in news reporting, as a means to combat fake news and misinformation. The novel prototype could serve as a valuable instrument in combating the dissemination of false information during electoral periods and beyond. Furthermore, the researcher emphasizes the importance of fact-checking any sensational news before disseminating it and advises individuals to exercise caution when encountering emotionally manipulative stories.