Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab
Disinformation on visa restrictions spreading through fake media pages and photo cards
This article is more than 7 months old

Disinformation on visa restrictions spreading through fake media pages and photo cards

Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab

The proliferation of deceptive practices involving false information about visa restrictions through counterfeit materials on various reputable media platforms is on the rise. Incidents involving the unauthorized use of logos and images from established media outlets have recently come to light.

On Facebook, misinformation about visa restrictions, falsely implicating Tarique Rahman and Pinaki Bhattacharya, was disseminated using the logos of Prothom Alo and SATV. Additionally, a fraudulent page named “71 Television” posted an image alleging visa restrictions against 280 Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders.

Social media posts accused Tarique Rahman and Pinaki Bhattacharya of visa denials, accompanied by fake Prothom Alo photo cards (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). However, Prothom Alo confirmed these cards were counterfeit, as stated in a post on their verified page.

Similar allegations were made using SATV’s logo in multiple posts (1, 2). SATV did not, however, publish any such photo cards.

Earlier, on September 24th, an article titled “Media Will Also Be Included in Visa Policy: Peter Haas” was published by Prothom Alo. Subsequently, manipulated screenshots of the article attributed false statements to Peter Haas. Prothom Alo confirmed (1, 2) that these photo cards were fabricated and not their publications.

Moreover, a counterfeit NTV photo card about visa denials circulated on Facebook last week, accusing 280 leaders, including BNP figures Tarek Rahman, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Amanullah Aman, and Habib Un Nabi. On September 30th, fact-checking organization “Rumor Scanner” debunked this photo card as fake.

Interestingly, the same image resurfaced from a bogus Facebook page under the name “71 Television,” using the authentic logo of the media house. This underscores the trend of disseminating false allegations related to visa restrictions through both counterfeit materials and fake pages associated with mainstream media outlets.

It is pertinent to note that in a September 22nd interview with The Daily Star, Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, emphasized that visa restrictions, including names, fall under confidential information protected by American law and would not be disclosed. He said, “We have said from the beginning that within the purview of this policy, we will not disclose the names of those to whom visa restrictions will be issued. Any visa record, including visa restrictions, is confidential information under American law.”