Like every year, Aurat March is facing online threats and a flurry of disinformation regarding its slogans and demands.
This year, it’s about a flag. Some anti-march people have claimed on Twitter that participants were holding a French flag, and accused them of subscribing to a foreign agenda. Is that true?
The French flag has blue, white and red stripes. The participants in Aurat March were holding a flag with red, white and purple stripes. It is the flag of Women Democratic Front, the main organisers of the marches in various cities.
The WDF has clarified the same in a tweet.
The WDF flag represents grassroots feminism in Pakistan and has nothing to do with the French flag. We, at WDF, stand against all forms of imperialism and the accusation that we would ever wave the flag of a former colonial power is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/oZIjDB8XGu
— Women Democratic Front #AuratAzadiMarch2021 (@wdf_pk) March 10, 2021
Spreading false or doctored information intentionally is termed as disinformation. Digital rights activists, governments and policymakers all over the world have expressed serious concerns over online disinformation campaigns.
The European Union, for example, says on its website that it is working to implement strategies to combat disinformation. There is no law in Pakistan, which specifically expands on disinformation and misinformation and the steps needed to deal with the different kinds of “fake news” that are, in combination, called the information disorder. The cybercrime law, though, deals with harassment and online abuse.