Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR), organized a virtual conference titled “Mitigating Challenges of Disinformation on Social Media”

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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 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: enlightened the audience on the Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic impacts of Social Media. He described utility strategies of non-conventional media such as Youtube can to disseminate propaganda, e.g India. He also explained how improved connectivity via technology is causing burgeoning global users of social media. He was of the view that it is very difficult to create while it’s very easy to create and propagate fake news.
Mr. Mirza Masood Baig, explained the incidence of global and local noise and exigencies to filter news, to dig fact-based true news. He further elucidated the communication cycle in detail to understand the evolution of the monster that is disinformation. In addition, he stated that it`s all about playing with and influencing perceptions, hence disinformation gets more pre-eminence than true news. He concluded with the case study of Karima Baloch to highlight the power of disinformation.
Mr. Ammar Jaffri: stated that the world is transforming towards different planets owing to the ever-changing technological landscape. Internet is the driving force of the future world and hence we must have the elaborate infrastructure of AI, Blockchain Communication, and adapt to the world of Industrial Revolution 4.0. He also highlighted the importance of Cyber Warfare, Cyber Diplomacy, and the protection of strategic interests in the digital realm. Finally, he elucidated the dark side of the internet and its possible ramifications upon security.

Mr. Syed Talal Hassan discussed the security aspect of social media propagated disinformation. He explained the novel tools and tactics of Hybrid Warfare and its ramifications upon national security. He opinioned about leveraging technology or weaponization of sophisticated systems can help offensive states to win the war without fighting it.
MR. Habib Paracha: Elaborated via an MIT Report that why political fake news tends to overwhelm the spectrum of fake news. In addition, he emphasized the role of professional media in mitigating the spread of fake news via credible journalism and robust brand image. He further urged the role of the state in taking responsibility to check the spread of fake news via elaborate mechanisms.

President COPAIR- 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 outlined various recommendations: Role of institutions in training the youth as these novel terms need immense academic deliberation. Likewise, she also suggested instituting Central Command and Control system on cybersecurity and Mass awareness via civil society and civic discussion. At the govermnt level, she called Parliament to chart regulatory frameworks. She also mentioned that Licensing Mechanism should be introduced for media outlets, even for YouTube channels. Evoking National Collective Response, Social Contract between society and government is very important in this regard, Monitoring social media tools at corporate, state and global level, Invest in universities, research and start-ups to devise solutions, were the valuable suggestions, she added. She concluded the session by extending her special gratitude to the guest speakers and other participants of the event.
Approximately 200 people from Pakistan and abroad, including representatives of the public and private organizations and students attended the two-and-a-half-hour-long session virtually.

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