After the IAF air strikes on Pakistan’s Balakot on Tuesday, 26 February, tension between India and Pakistan escalated. There is uncertainty, there is chaos and to top it all, there is also the problem of widespread misinformation and unverified news.
First, unconfirmed figures on the air strike casualties made rounds, on channels and on social media. News flashes mentioned ‘anonymous’ and ‘unofficial’ sources. There were also news about Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law being killed in the strike, of which too there was no confirmation.
Again, on Wednesday, 27 February, even as India denied Pakistani claims of shooting down Indian jets, many Twitter handles in Pakistan tweeted old images of crashed Indian jets.
Indians were also left speculating about Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who Pakistan claimed was in their custody. Pakistani media also released a video that showed him in captivity. In the absence of any confirmation from the government, Twitterati resorted to ascertaining facts with the service number that he (Abhinandan Varthaman) is heard saying in the video.
Amid all this, many political leaders, journalists and other personalities took to Twitter and advised Twitterati to hold off on spreading false information on social media.
The official Twitter handle of Congress also put out a tweet asking everyone to show restraint in reacting and sharing any news until there is official information from the Indian government.
Journalist Faye D Souza said Mirror Now will slow down the news updates to carry only what is confirmed.
Another reporter responded saying she would prefer factually correct over fast and fake news.
A journalist who covered the Kargil War, Harinder Baweja said there is only fog of war visible, everything else is propaganda from both sides.
Former diplomat KC Singh and journalist Barkha Dutt said it is important that the government speaks to avoid confusion and falsehood.
Journalist Shekhar Gupta urged Twitterati not to believe, spread or respond to any news until sure about its authenticity.
Restraint indeed is the need of the hour. So, if you spot any news that you are not sure of, send it to WebQoof@TheQuint.com and we'll fact-check it for you.