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Adnan Sami in a fix, Pakistan refuses to confirm renunciation of nationality

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Islamabad: Days after the Centre allowed famous Pakistani singer Adnan Sami to stay in India on humanitarian grounds till further orders, Pakistan on Wednesday refused to confirm his renunciation of nationality over his alleged disrespectful behaviour towards his national identity.

The latest move could hurt Sami’s efforts to adopt the Indian nationality.

The authorities in Pakistan have refused to issue the “renunciation of citizenship certificate” to the famous singer, The Express Tribune reported. The certificate is necessary for any Pakistani citizen who wants to adopt the citizenship of any other country.

“Why would we issue the certificate to a man who has no respect for ‘sacred’ documents,” a senior officer of Pakistan’s Home ministry told the daily.

“The Pakistani singer would now have to submit an unconditional apology for his behaviour and follow the correct procedure for getting the renunciation certificate,” officials said.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had on August 4 informed the Lok Sabha that the singer was exempted from deportation proceedings under section 3 of the Foreigners Act.

“…in pursuance of the powers conferred under section 3A of Foreigners Act, 1946 (31 of 1946), the central government being of the opinion that it is necessary and expedient in public interest to do so, hereby declared that provisions of clauses (c) and (e) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Foreigners Act 1946 and paragraph 11 of the Foreigners Order, 1948, shall not apply to Adnan Sami Khan, son of late Arshad Sami Khan, and he is exempted from deportation proceedings. This order shall remain valid until further orders are issued on the subject,” the home ministry order said.

The 46-year-old singer, who gave hit songs like ‘Kabhi to nazar milao’ and ‘Lift karaa de’, had appealed for the legalisation of his stay in the country in May this year.

He submitted a representation to the home ministry on May 26, 2015, requesting for his stay in India on humanitarian grounds.

Sami, who came to India on a visitor’s visa, had been staying in India since March 2001. His visa was extended from time to time, but as his passport expired in May this year and the Pakistani government refused to renew it, he was forced to request the Indian authorities to legalise his stay in the country on humanitarian grounds.

(With inputs from agencies)

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WhatsApp Announces 20 Teams To Curb Fake News Globally

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation

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WhatsApp selects 20 teams to curb fake news globally, including India. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.

Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.

The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.

Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.

P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.

“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.

According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.

The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.

WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.

“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.

WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.

Also Read- Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)