India’s Worldwide network of 265 fake media outlets targeting Pakistani interests, reveals EU DisinfoLab

India’s Worldwide network of 265 fake media outlets targeting Pakistani interests, reveals EU DisinfoLab

ISLAMABAD - India’s worldwide network of as many as 265 fake media outlets targeting Pakistani interests has been unearthed by the European Union (EU) Disinfo Lab.

The network was designed by New Delhi to influence the EU and the UN by repeatedly criticising Pakistan. The fake media outlets operate in 65 countries across the world.

The fake media network serves following interests of Indian lobby:

1) Influence international institutions and elected representatives with coverage of specific events and demonstrations;

2) Provide NGOs with useful press material to reinforce their credibility and thus be impactful;

3) Add several layers of media outlets that quote and republish one another, making it harder for the reader to trace the manipulation, and in turn (sometimes) offer a “mirage” of international support;

4) Influence public perceptions on Pakistan by multiplying iterations of the same content available on search engines.

EU DisinfoLab link quickly discovered that EP Today is managed by Indian stakeholders, with ties to a large network of think tanks, NGOs, and companies from the Srivastava Group. EU DisinfoLab also found that the IP address of the Srivastava Group is also home to the obscure online media “New Delhi Times” and the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), which are all based at the same address in New Delhi, India.

Using OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) techniques, EU DisinfoLab continued its investigation into this network, and this led them to Geneva, where the UN Refugee Agency has its headquarters.

There, it was discovered – an online “newspaper” that is “approaching 35 years in business”. Strangely enough, Times of Geneva publishes the same type of content as EP Today and produces videos covering events and demonstrations criticising Pakistan’s role in the Kashmir conflict.

EUDisinfoLab found hard evidence that both EP Today and Times of Geneva have extremely strong ties with a network of NGOs and think tanks, such as the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), and Pakistani Women’s Human Rights Organization. Specifically, the websites of these NGOs and think tanks are hosted on the same servers and/or staff have worked for one of these previous organisations while publishing articles for EP Today.

EU DisinfoLab also proved that the two influence networks (Brussels and Geneva) were interconnected by discovering links between website registration addresses, email addresses, and domain names.