Indian interests behind site targeting MEPs with RT content
At least one Indian firm is behind a website that targets members of the European Parliament and other policymakers with media content that is critical of Pakistan and drawn largely from a Russian media outlet known for disinformation, according to research by a non-profit group.
EUvsDisinfo, a group funded by the European Union, showed that the website EP Today was drawing most of its content from Russian-owned RT and reproducing articles word-for-word on its site.
Further research by EU DisinfoLab, a non-profit organization, showed that EP Todays online presence overlapped with Indian stakeholders in Brussels, namely those of the Srivastava Group. EP Todays office address, at 37 Square de Meeus, is the same as that of the Srivastava Group, a New Delhi-based company which lists the New Delhi Times as one of its assets (but not EP Today).
There was no reply to requests for comment from Srivastava.
Much of EP Todays content — which is also drawn from the U.S.-funded Voice of America outlet — is linked to Indian interests and is critical of Pakistan, DisinfoLabs research showed.
On August 27, for example, EP Today published an article criticizing Donald Trumps offer to mediate between India and Pakistan, while op-eds have criticized Pakistans foreign policy goals as “jihad” and called for the secession of the restive Pakistani region of Balochistan.
DisinfoLabs investigation “reveals just how complicated this field of research [disinformation] is; it shows how attribution is always difficult, and how caution should be taken when reporting on disinformation investigations,” Gary Machado, managing director at EU DisinfoLab, told POLITICO.
As of Tuesday evening, the EP Today site was still operating.
Its Facebook page, which had been liked by 145,000 people, was taken down on Tuesday following inquiries, including by POLITICO. A Twitter account associated with the group has been permanently suspended.
“We dont comment on individual accounts for security and privacy reasons. Impersonating another user, brand or organization in a confusing or deceptive way is a violation of the Twitter Rules,” a Twitter spokesperson said. Under Twitters