Embellishing News — Another Hybrid Warfare Technique

Media Coverage | May 17, 2019

The using of all kinds of technologies and media gimmicks to diminish a person or a country has been around for quite a while. Fake news — telling plain lies or repeating unchecked or un-investigated news from other sources — is one way to destabilise, frighten or otherwise put an individual and/or a country on tenterhooks. This type of news usually doesn’t last long because the truth is found out quite quickly but the damage is usually done, particularly if the population is not literate. Vested interests have come up with a new and more dangerous technique, what we call ‘embellished news’, meaning that the gist of the news item is true but it is blown out of proportion, than generalised and the negativity maximised, thus achieving the same effect: to unsettle, destabilise and sow doubts and distrust.

One only has to look at the reporting about one of the preferred targets — CPEC and China. The terrorist attack at the PC hotel Gwadar, though deplorable was true, reporting it was not wrong, most newspapers gave the facts the ISPR disseminated. However one of our leading newspapers gave this news item half of its front page and in a box close to it ran an article highlighting the other incidents that have taken place in Balochistan in the recent past. The message that is being communicated by our “media champion” is that Balochistan is at the brink of war, people and projects there are in danger and one should better keep away from it. That is pure and simple enemy propaganda: why is their reporting about Kashmir minimal, they never question why India does not allow media-persons there or for that matter in 17 other Indian states? One of the economic columnists of the same newspaper called CPEC a “figment of imagination” in a panel discussion in front of IBA students of Karachi. The fact that the so-called Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) is a very much diminished entity which is kept alive by foreign sponsors to defame and pressurise Pakistan, destabilise CPEC and to create unrest close to Iran. In an editorial, the newspaper followed the same theme, forgetting to mention that some of the dead terrorists were on the “missing list” (as were those who attacked the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi). India not only blames Pakistan for fomenting terrorism but also seeks to define Pakistan as a country which is not a safe place to invest in.

Click here to read the full article on The Express Tribune.