(Washington, DC, 10/31/17) – Three leading advocacy groups representing Muslim and Asian Americans communities today said they will join a ban to disengage with any foreign media outlet found to have distributed propaganda as a means to sway voters in the 2016 elections.
According to media reports released last week, groups like Russian Television (RT) and Sputnik set up misleading sites and social media pages to identify voters susceptible to propaganda. They used the Facebook tool “Custom Audiences” to send these voters politically divisive messages around topics such as Islam, race and immigration to fear-monger and influence their political behavior. Twitter also revealed that the news site RT spent $274,100 toward spreading this propaganda in 2016.
In a joint statement, the advocacy groups said:
“The media play a critical role for the American people in upholding the foundation of our democracy. When a foreign entity misuses this fundamental aspect of our way of life as a means to promote falsehoods, heighten the social divisions in our communities and sway our elections to suit its political goals, then that is where we must draw the line.
“These actions not only attempted to undermine our democracy, but are also illegal. As a matter of principle, we will suspend any engagement with any media outlet found to be participating in these efforts, including RT and Sputnik.”
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The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is a national public affairs nonprofit organization working to promote and strengthen American pluralism by increasing understanding and improving policies that impact American Muslims though its engagement with media, government and Hollywood.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group, CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI).