COPAIR WEBINAR – Mitigating Challenges of Disinformation on Social Media

Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR), Islamabad organized a virtual conference titled Mitigating Challenges of Disinformation on Social Media. The panelist of the webinar includes professional experts, journalists, and scholars on the topic pertinent topic. A number of people from different fields, such as media practitioners, digital transformation leaders, academia, and students from across the country joined the riveting discussion. The two-and-a-half-long session was organized to gather insights about Mitigating Challenges of Disinformation on Social Media, to highlight the opportunities and challenges, and devise strategies of social media usage for foreseeable future in Pakistan.

Awais Siddique, a Research Associate of COPAIR, was the moderator of the session and after the introduction of speakers, he set the baseline of the webinar by sharing views about the pertinent topic.

Mr. Raja Faisal, a senior journalist enlightened the audience on the Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic impacts of Social Media and described utility strategies of non-conventional media such as Youtube can to disseminate propaganda. He was of the view that it is very difficult to create while it is very easy to create and propagate fake news.

Mr. Mirza Masood Baig, Head PTV World, explained the incidence of global and local noise and exigencies to filter news, to dig fact-based true news. He stated that it`s all about playing with and influencing perceptions, hence disinformation gets more pre-eminence than true news.

Mr. Ammar Jaffri, DG CIT stated that the world is transforming owing to the ever-changing technological landscape and the internet is the driving force of this transformation. We have to adapt to the world of Industrial Revolution 4.0 and understand the importance of cyber warfare, cyber diplomacy, and the protection of strategic interests in the digital realm. 

Mr. Syed Talal Hassan, an information security analyst discussed the security aspect of social media propagated disinformation and novel tools and tactics of Hybrid Warfare. He opined that leveraging technology or weaponization of sophisticated systems could help offensive states to win the war without fighting it.

Mr. Habib Paracha, a film producer, shared an MIT report stating that political fake news tends to overwhelm the spectrum of fake news and the role of professional media in mitigating the spread of fake news via credible journalism and building a robust brand image.

President COPIAR- Ms. Amna Malik accentuated the realization of the gravity of this issue and how government needs to work on it by engaging civil society, youth, government, media, corporate sector via public-private partnerships. She recommended the role of institutions in training the youth, instituting Central Command and Control system on cybersecurity and Mass awareness via civil society and civic discussion. At the government level, she called Parliament to chart regulatory frameworks and authorities to devise Licensing Mechanism that should be introduced for media outlets, even for YouTube channels. 

Approximately 200 people from Pakistan and abroad, including representatives of the public and private organizations and students attended the one-and-a-half-hour-long session virtually.

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