Shutting down online #fakenews factories


Got this email and image from Avaaz, subject line, “We’ve been hijacked”, that feels too important not to share.  Here’s my biggest takeaway from it:

During Brazil’s election, Avaaz ran an experiment — just six people were given basic training to investigate the propaganda networks, and they shut down online fake news factories that reached *16 million* people. Imagine what ten times as many could do!

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Pakistan Elections: protest unethical and undemocratic electoral process

Cartoon by Zahoor, reproduced in Nadeem Farooq Paracha's article on Pakistan 'ideology', Dawn, April 19, 2012

Cartoon by Zahoor, reproduced in Nadeem Farooq Paracha’s article on Pakistan ‘ideology’, Dawn, April 19, 2012

Pakistanis are vocally protesting the trend of over-zealous Returning Officers knocking down prospective electoral candidates like nine pins on “moral” and “religious” grounds related to Articles 62 and 63 inserted into the Constitution of Pakistan by the military dictator Gen. Ziaul Haq. Recently, former MNA and prominent newspaper columnist Ayaz Amir’s candidacy was rejected on the grounds that he has written articles opposing the ‘two nation theory’ and the ‘ideology of Pakistan’. (Here’s an online petition in his support that I have signed). Here’s the HRCP statement slamming “this latest plot to deny people the right to determine who governs them”; Khushal Khattak’s blogpost on “the kind of pre-poll rigging that ANP faces”; The devious Article 62: How pandering to the extremists made it stay, by Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad. Below, prominent citizens statement against the “unethical and undemocratic” electoral process that is allowing the “ignorance and personal prejudices of the Returning Officers” to rule. Continue reading

‘Under the rubble’ – democracy

Extract from former Indian civil servant Harsh Mander’s recent article in The Hindu (he left government service after the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat), ‘Under the rubble’

Under the rubble of the fallen mosque lay the idea of India itself.

But in the end, ordinary people of India – Hindu, Muslim and of other faiths – voted resolutely against the politics of hate and division, in general elections of 2004 and 2009. The most passionate votaries of the temple movement admit that it has today lost the power to mobilise voters any longer.

It is impoverished people of India who have picked the pieces of the idea of India from under the rubble of the medieval mosque razed by frenzied mobs in 1992. It is they who have reclaimed once again the inclusive pluralist traditions of this ancient teeming diverse land.

Bottom line: let democratic politics and the cycle of elections prevail, no matter how messy it seems. It will take a long time, but it will sort out. And it will is a continuing process.

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