Independent fact-checkers working for Facebook have labeled a newspaper article, shared by the Bangladeshi prime minister’s son on the social networking site, as “misleading”.
The article, titled “Conspiracy to seize power: Secret meeting with BNP-Jamaat in Jeddah”, was originally published by the Daily Janakantha on September 24th 2020, and was shared on the same day by Sajeeb Wazed Joy, who is also her mother’s ICT advisor.
The article claims that intelligence sources had provided the newspaper with information about a “conspiracy” between Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and the BNP-Jamaat alliance to “seize power” at the next general election in 2023.
However Facebook has added a note on Joy’s Facebook page, below the article which he has shared, which states: “Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people. “
When one clicks on the link, Facebook’s fact-checkers explain that this article was practically identical to reports published in 2018 before the last general election in the Bangla Tribune, much of it just copied and pasted.
Facebook’s independent fact-checker Boom, concluded:
“Most of the information in the report of Dainik Janakantha on 24th September matched exactly with the information of Bangla Tribune and other media reports published in 2018, with many paragraphs and sentences of Janakantha’s report exactly matching with the report of Bangla Tribune 21 months earlier. The use of cited audio phone conversations with alleged allegations of ‘influencing’ in the report proves that Janakantha’s report is a reproduced version of the news circulating around the December 2018 elections – which has been misleadingly imposed in the case of 2023/24 elections. “
Clearly, a report imputing a BNP-Jamaat-ISI conspiracy was too good for Joy not to share – however misleading it may be. It is notable that the prime minister’s son has not yet deleted his “misleading” post.
Of course, that brings one to the question of the veracity of the original reports in the Bangla Tribune.
Boom itself states that its report does not seek to “verify the veracity of the reports published in Bangla Tribune or other media in 2018.”
Whilst no one should vouch for what the ISI, BNP or Jamaat did or did not do in the prelude to the 2018 election, Bangladeshi intelligence agencies lack any kind of credibility as media sources and are prone to simply inventing stories which they pass onto a willing Partisan pro-government media.
In addition, one thing we do know is that the Awami League actually “won” the election in a supposed landslide – its alliance winning 288 out of the 300 parliamentary seats – with independent election observers concluding that the election was characterized by intimidation, arrests and ballot stuffing .
So perhaps if there was actually an election conspiracy, it was one committed by the Awami League? You would though never read that in the Bangla Tribune or Daily Janakantha!