Smear campaign against Malala on social media -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Smear campaign against Malala on social media

By: ALI HUSSAIN & FAZAL SHER

The elements upset over the unprecedented world-wide reaction against the brutal attack on a 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai have launched a smear campaign on social media to try to countermand the continuing public outrage against the tragic incident.

Bloggers on the social media sites like twitter and facebook are continuously posting blogs that accuse Malala of promoting Western backed agenda. Malala, who won fame for her blogs in the international media at a time when Taliban had imposed a ban on girls’ education in Swat valley, has now been shifted to London in a critical condition after she was shot on October 9. The attack on the young Malala triggered an unprecedented public outrage within and outside the country.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned outfit, claimed responsibility for the attack; however following reaction from the public and national as well as international media, TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan issued several justifications for the attack followed by threats to media organisations and some journalists for not giving proper coverage to their stance.

Sources close to Taliban confirmed to Business Recorder that Taliban have planned to target media organisations and journalists for giving extraordinary coverage to Malala episode which, they add, is biased. To counter the “anti-Taliban campaign”, the sources said that Taliban have also activated their like-minded people to run a drive on the social media to justify their attack on the young Malala.

Some unknown bloggers are now regularly contributing to the social media sites with a purpose to confuse Malala’s efforts to promote girls’ education with an alleged foreign agenda. Likewise, a picture under the caption “Real Face of Malala Yousufzai” appeared on a facebook page, created under the name of the national poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal, in which Malala and her parents have been shown receiving appreciations from high US officials during a meeting. In the blogs, the admin of the facebook page tries to accuse Malala of working on a western agenda to malign Islam.

Another picture pasted on the same facebook page shows Malala and her parents with former US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrook and attributes the following comment to Malala: “I am proud of Pakistan Army but now I feel ashamed as they are looting the people and misbehaving against women”, said a caption of the picture posted on the same page.

A video has also been posted on the Iqbal facebook page under the caption “Malala secret meeting with CIA”, in which Malala is shown along with her parents meeting with Holbrook where she requests assistance for promoting education in Pakistan. Other posts on various social media pages also accuse Malala and her parents of receiving money from different western NGOs. When approached Faisal Khan, deputy director cyber crime wing Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), said that the debate on the social media does not come under the definition of cyber crime.

“It’s just public views and we cannot stop it”, he said, adding that it does not come under their domain rather it is a responsibility of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to check if something was against the national interest on the social media. However, when contacted PTA spokesman expressed ignorance about the issue and was unable to make any comment.

Business Recorder