The New Type of “Terrorism”: Unverified Publications

Gagik Aghbalyan

The article “A Very Important Message: A New Kind Of Terrorism” has been published on the blog page 168.am, which can cause undue panic among the audience.

Citing an unknown organization called the  “Disease Control Center,” it reports that needles are being placed in public transportation in order to infect people with HIV.

“Please, be extremely careful, cautious. Look carefully at all the seats of the bus before you sit down, as they can be dangerous. This is a new kind of terrorism, spreading HIV through infected needles. Those infected with the deadly disease have nothing to lose, they take revenge.”

If we understand the text directly, it should be perceived as a terrorist attack in Armenia. It is not mentioned as to which country it’s about.

In Armenia there is a  POAK whose name is very similar to the name of the Center for Disease Control mentioned in the text. It is called the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In reality the NCDCP has not issued such a statement.

And the Disease Control Center mentioned in the article asks that people spread this message as much as possible, so that people are informed of the “potential danger.”

As proof of what is said, the text presents a tragic incident in the city of Delhi.

“The targeted girl sat on the bus, felt a poke and saw a piece of writing: ‘Welcome, welcome to the global family of HIV patients.’ Doctors told the family that the infection would be exacerbated in a couple of months, and life would be limited to 5-6 years. But the psychological shock did its job, and the girl passed away in two months. We all have to be careful, help one another, and the rest is God’s will. You can save lives by warning them.” reads 168.am’s horrific story to its audience.

The source jellyroom.su was listed at the end of the article as being the source, which had no contacts, the registration address is unknown, there are no authors, which means there is no responsibility.

The same website is packed with suspicious information about some magic recipes and “sensational” articles about famous people.

Alerts on HIV infected needles are being discussed in Russian forums. The subject was even discussed by doctors in the professional field.

The media could take into account that even in the case of translating, the responsibility of verifying the source’s authenticity, the obligation of fact checking, and overall responsibility is on them.

There are several ways to fact check, one of them is simply collecting information about the website’s domain. According to the site who.is, jellyroom is registered in an unknown address by unknown users.

Gagik Aghbalyan

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