Considering the recent tensions between India and Pakistan, there are several forums which are peddling news and information which is either false or perpetuates a narrative which undermines the national interest.
Some shared information, while not malicious in intent, becomes a powerful tool to harm national interests. It is therefore important to ensure diligence is followed, and vigilance is maintainedagainst both intentional and inadvertent sharing of information which could be detrimental to the national effort.
Some examples of these include social media forwards which peddle claims of failure of the armed forces, sharing rumors about individuals allegedly espousing seditious views or even sharing public information about serving military officials.
Dr. Vikram Singh, IPS (Former Director-General of Police, Uttar Pradesh) and member of the IIRIS board of Advisors, underlines the need for citizens to beware against falling victim to such tactics. It is important to be a proud citizen and contribute to the national cause by adopting sensible precautions and encouraging others to practice a trust and verify approach to information dissemination.
According to Dr Singh, all citizens should observe the following:
- Do not rely on rumors circulating on social media. Rely only on official alerts issued by the government.
- Do not take any pictures/videos and share any inputs on movement of troops, military equipment and sensitive sites such as airports, critical infrastructure, etc.
- Do not share information of military personnel and their kin.
- Desist from sharing any information/visuals of the aftermath of a military incident.
- Avoid discussions on the subject with unknown people.
- Avoid all travel within ten kilometers of the international boundary with Pakistan, except for Wagah.
- Exercise due caution in all major metros against the credible potential for a terrorist event. Report suspicious objects and behavior to the authorities.
- Reconfirm all flight and rail itineraries as a basic precaution.
Remember always to:
- Verify information with the relevant authorities!
- Inform the authorities if you observe any suspicious behavior or objects.
- Ask others also not to share sensitive information, particularly with strangers.
- Follow instructions issued by the authorities and allow additional time to complete security checks at sensitive areas such as railway stations and airports.
- Not let heightened rhetoric malign sound judgement.
- Let your fellow security personnel know that you appreciate their services and that their efforts will be given deserving honor.
- Be a model citizen for future generations.