ANTI-SHAHBAGH SMEAR CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
A vested interest group is continuing with its propaganda campaign against the spirit of the Shahbagh movement using social media like Facebook and blogs.
Taking advantage of the anonymous nature of the Internet, and the power of graphic and video manipulating software, they have been posting edited pictures of different events and claiming those to be of Shahbagh movement.
They have also been manipulating photos and videos in websites. Most of such posts on Facebook are of women.
They are even trying to prove that Shahbagh demonstrators are receiving money from Indian secret service RAW and that police are committing heinous crimes against religious people.
The propaganda was not just aimed at people to create an anti-Shahbagh stance, but also at governments of other countries. The Daily Star received a lot of alerts from concerned people enquiring what was going on.
In one such manipulated photo, a young woman is seen with a bottle in hand surrounded by young men and she is dancing. The caption claimed that she was the daughter of a famous person and that she was partying at Shahbagh at night.
The photo was allegedly of a new year’s party at a city hotel and the photo was published in a Bangla daily in 2010. The picture was manipulated by darkening its background so that it would appear as if it was taken on the street at night.
Another Facebook picture showed a girl covering her face with hands at a public place. The caption claimed that 11 girls were raped in Shahbagh and she was one of them and that those girls were missing.
In reality, no such incident took place.
Another post showed a man exchanging money with some people at Shahbagh. The post claimed that this man was a RAW agent who was busy distributing money among the Shahbagh organisers.
How the person posting the photo knew that it was a RAW agent could not be known.
In another post, a picture of a massive religious congregation was shown as a Friday gathering of Muslim devotees protesting against the “atheist” bloggers of Shahbagh. A careful scrutiny reveals that this was a picture of an Eid congregation that was published in newspapers.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) more than a week earlier had suspended a dozen blogs and some Facebook accounts.
Since one person can create thousands of Facebook pages from anywhere posing as anyone, the cyber propaganda continues.
Giasuddin Ahmed, vice-chairman of BTRC, said, “There are thousands of such pages. With our limited resources, it’s not possible to monitor and search all the sites and Facebook accounts.”
He also said if anybody complains specifically against any blog or Facebook account, the commission could take action.
“The BTRC is not monitoring it politically. We are doing our job as per the law. As per law, cybercrime is a punishable offence,” he added.
A wing of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) is also monitoring the social sites, said Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, director of Rab intelligence wing.
But taking any legal action was a challenging task as it was almost impossible to identify the cyber criminals who use fake identities.
February 28, 2013