Media Matters for Democracy, MMfD, has launched a fact checking initiative to counter rising instances of online disinformation and misinformation.
As part of the new initiative titled “Sachee Khabar” that roughly translates into Urdu as “factual news”, a twitter handle has been set up in the first phase to flag online false news.
Talking to Digital Rights Monitor, MMfD Executive Director Asad baig explained that the purpose of launching this initiative was to “identify the pieces of disinformation online, flag them and help the netizens connect with fact-checking resources, and also fact-check ourselves whenever we can, through an in-house network of journalists.”
Mr. Asad expressed hoped that “Sachee Khabar” would be able to put in more effort towards online fact checking and thus become an important resource for journalists. “We also intend to use Urdu as much as we can, something that not many international fact-checking platforms — AFP included — are doing,” he added.
The new initiative comes at a time when social media is flooded with false information in the wake of India-Pakistan tensions.
Some of the online content flagged by “Sachee Khabar” over the past four days includes videos falsely attributed to skirmishes between Pakistan and Indian armed forces at the Line of Control and a false statement attributed to Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan.
Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.