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Internal security threats are very much prevalent in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh despite the 1997 peace accord which allowed for the recognition of the rights of the peoples and tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts region. Ethnic groups are demanding different types of political, citizenship and land rights. There could be fresh tension, political confrontation and security problem in the CHT if the emerging issues are not addressed.

Out of many security issues starting from land grabbing or eviction to environmental risks, the indigenous people are also targeted through defamatory content in social media. In Bangladesh’s Southeastern Khagrachari District, a man was arrested for posting a fake photo of Mr Kunentu Chakma, General Secretary of Pahari Chhatra Parishad’s Rangamati unit. The photo contained a provocative statement, suggesting that the latter was deameaning the Qu’ran. Khagrachari locals state that this fake photo – which, apparently, went viral on social media – was inciting communal attacks on the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Despite the arrest of the culprit, Mr Md Sagor Hossain, the photo continues to be shared on Facebook, creating a rise in tension and fear among the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Photo: https://archive.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/crime/2016/11/02/1-arrested-khagrachhari-inciting-hatred-facebook 

ActorBehaviourContentDegreeEffect
Prime Actor:A social media user named Mr Md Sagor Hossain, later on shared by others on social media despite the actor’s arrest. He was also the leader of BNP’s student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal.Intent: Suggests aspersive behaviour

Md Sagor used a photo of a person to claim that it was Pahari Chhatra Parishad’s Rangamati unit General Secretary Kunentu Chakma sitting on a Qur’an.
Harm: The content deceived people and had element which could potentially lead to communal violence.
 Truthfulness: The content was fake and fabricated.
Narrative(s): The content is aligned with the disinformation narrative.
Audience:People in general in Bangladesh s
Platform: Facebook
Human rights:Constitutes discrimination on grounds of race, religion or place of birth, right to life & personal liberty, freedom of religion, freedom of culture, protection of home and correspondence.

ABCDE Framework Analysis:

Actor:

Md Sagor, a leader of BNP’s student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, who used a photo of a person to claim that it was Pahari Chhatra Parishad’s Rangamati unit General Secretary Kunentu Chakma sitting on a Qur’an. He posted the photo in a Facebook group named “Adhare Dwiner Aalo (Sinan)” at 1:19pm on 1 November 2016. Later on, even though he was arrested for the disinformation, the photo continued to be shared on Facebook, creating a rise in tension and fear among the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Behaviour:

The photo posted on Facebook was fake and false inciting communal violence and attacking a notable person from indigenous community. The behaviour suggests aspersive intent to deceive people and incite security risks.

Content:

The content was fake and provocative. Khagrachhari locals said such a fake photo could have invited communal attacks on the indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts – a home of at least 13 indigenous communities.

The picture was originally posted in an Indonesian news portal called www.lihat.co.id

Degree:

The content was targeted against indigenous community in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Facebook was used to disseminate the content on a wide scale without any verification to its truth.

Effect:

The content constitutes discrimination on grounds of race, religion or place of birth. It threatened right to life & personal liberty, freedom of religion, freedom of culture, protection of home and correspondence.

Diagnosis:

The Case has been identified as incident of disinformation because the content shows evidence of deliberately deceptive behavior through creation of fabricated post on Facebook potentially threating national and internal security by provoking communal violence.

Conclusion:

Disinformation and fake content have the potential to create wide scale national security risks. In Bangladesh, communal violence has been threatening and causing harm to internal security for a long time. The use of disinformation through media and social media targeting religious and ethnic minorities is adding another dimension to already existing security risk violating fundamental rights and freedoms. Amongst many already existing issues effecting rights of indigenous people in Bangladesh, such defamatory and fabricated contents carry the element of inviting communal attacks on the indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

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