The Global Social Network
Last year, India's ex foreign secretary Sujata Singh bitterly complained about negative stories "planted in the media" by the Modi government to "tarnish" her reputation as part of the campaign to force her resignation. "The commentary that I have seen over the past two days has pained me deeply. I believe it was not necessary to get low and dirty," she said, according to India's First Post.
RAW Planted Stories:
Doing a Google search today on news about Pakistan shows the first page of the search results filled with negative stories that seem obviously planted by the Modi government in highly search-engine-optimized Indian media.
The planted stories present Indian Army's claimed "surgical strikes" in Pakistan as fact. They do not bother to put quotes around "surgical strikes" as international media have done. They do not ask any questions nor offer proof of such "surgical strikes".
Some of these planted stories claim "mass public protests" and "Pakistan flag burnings" in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan without offering any evidence. Other such made-up stories are about civil-military tensions in Pakistan and the country's "international isolation".
Psychological Operations (PsyOps):
Who plants these stories? And how? Let us examine this in a little more detail.
Professor Shyam Tekwani of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii has studied how the Indian government plants stories as part of its psychological operations (PsyOps). Here's an excerpt from his book "Media and Conflict Reporting in Asia":
"With a huge deployment of army, paramilitary and police forces fighting a host of separatist rebel armies, psyops has become a regular feature of journalism in conflict-ridden zones like India's Kashmir and northeastern states. The army and the paramilitary forces, the intelligence agencies and even state police have their own budgets and dedicated psyops. While most organizations use their intelligence units and public relations officials to perform the task, the Indian army has a full-fledged psyops cell in the Directorate of Military Intelligence... Bigger intelligence agencies like the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) employ media directors, mostly drawn from the Indian Information Service......And what do they do? Plant and push stories that run down the enemy and their image, promote their own cause and image, cover their track on a secret killing or blame it falsely on others (routine for them to pass off a secret killing by their assets as "infighting among rebels") and create feel-good atmosphere about their own operations.....Psyops planners carefully take into account
capabilities of their own "media assets" and the reach of the media they work for and whether the "plant" would hit the target area and create the necessary impact. It is war through the media--whoever said pen is mightier than sword is vindicated--but at the cost of professional journalism."
RAW Money Flow:
India has opened up a big money money spigot to use its agents, including its media assets, to destabilize Pakistan. RK Yadav, an ex intelligence official of RAW, has in a TV interview (Siyasat Ki Baat with RK Yadav video 6:00 minutes), talked about RAW agents with "suitcases and cupboards full of money".
Current National Security Advisor has talked about RAW recruiting terrorists with one-and-a-half times the money they are making from other sources.
RK Yadav has, in his book "Mission R&AW", written about RAW money paid to late Pakistani politician Khan Abul Wali Khan in 1970s. He's also confirmed the existence of RAW-inspired 1960s Agartala Conspiracy that recruited Shaikh Mujib ur Rehman's Awami League to work for Indian intelligence.
More recently, London Police documents have revealed the testimony of MQM leaders Muhammad Anwar and Tariq Mir confirming that Altaf Husain received money from Indian intelligence.
Ex RAW chief A.S. Dulat has said "money goes a long way in Kashmir" intelligence operations. Part of the money, it seems, is now flowing though the " RAW's media directors" and their "media assets" as described by Professor Tekwani in "Media and Conflict Reporting in Asia".
Western media often use a few stringers in conflict zones to file reports. These stringers are low-paid locals who are more prone to manipulation by authorities than more experienced better-paid correspondents.
Professor Shyam Tekwani explains that foreign agencies like the Associated Press (AP) or Agence France Press (AFP) and even BBC often create a stringer monopoly of just one or two that feeds news to all the top global media outlets. Just a couple of stringers can be used by RAW to influence the entire global media reporting on Kashmir.
Pakistani media has grown from about 2,000 journalists in the year 2000 to nearly 20,000 of them now. Rapid growth has meant that many of them are inexperienced and naive. Some of them pick up the planted stories from India and publish them. Others lack conscience and do it for money.
Indian media is abuzz with anti-Pakistan stories fabricated by "RAW's media directors" and planted by their "media assets" described by Professor Shyam Tekwani in his book "Media and Conflict Reporting in Asia" . These stories are part of Indian government's campaign to slander Pakistan to achieve the following objectives:
1. Deflect world attention from Indian Army atrocities in Kashmir.
2. Cover up India's proxy war of terror in Pakistan.
3. Isolate Pakistan internationally.
4. Sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
It's important for Pakistanis to not only understand what India is doing but also make a serious effort to make the world aware of it.