Weekend Remains Saturday and Sunday, ZSN News isn’t Even a Real Channel

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CLAIM: Facebook page, ZSN News, claimed Prime Minister Imran Khan announced March 1 onwards, Friday and Saturday would be full holidays, and Sunday would be a working day.

FACT: Although the image was made to look like a TV News screenshot, it was created by the Facebook page admin. No such change has been planned, announced or reported by a registered news channel.

VERDICT: False 

A viral image claiming Pakistan had changed its work week to facilitate better business relations with Middle Eastern countries originated on the ZSN News Facebook page. This image has been  shared periodically since 2019 on Twitter and Facebook. It has also been circulated, time and again, on Whatsapp, where it is perhaps most believable as it’s difficult to ascertain the origin of the image on Whatsapp. Moreover, it appears to be sourced from a legitimate ‘news channel’.

Translation: Prime Minister Imran Khan: Starting 1st March, it has been decided that Sunday will not be a holiday, Thursday will be a half day, and blessed Friday will be a full holiday. Notification has been issued.

ZSN News, or زیڈ ایس این نیوز , is a Facebook page with around 20,000 followers. We contacted the number listed on the page and spoke to Zaheer Gulzar, the sole administrator of the ZSN News Facebook page. He confirmed the page had posted the image, but it was taken down after a clarification from the information ministry. A screenshot of it being shared on Whatsapp groups as recently as  January 20, 2020 was submitted to us for fact checking on https://www.sochfactcheck.com/submit. This indicated that the image is still being spread through public Whatsapp groups. The misinformation also remains online on certain media outlets, which can add to the confusion. 

Soch asked Gulzar which notification he was referring to in the image and what prompted his post.  Gulzar said he came across ‘a government notification’ on social media and read an article to the effect, following which  he designed the image in question without waiting for an official notification or confirmation to come through. Gulzar could not recall any specifics of the article he read. 

An article published by the The News,  on February 18, 2019, was the oldest that Soch found with regards to a possible change in the working week.     The image designed by Gulzar was first cited in media reports when the rumour was denied by then information minister Fawad Chaudhry, three days later, on February 21, 2019.

Although ZSN News’ Facebook page is not associated with any registered news channel, does not follow any internal procedures for verification, and is run by one person, it regularly posts images which appear to be screenshots from TV News channels. It is common for screen grabs of legitimate news channels to be shared on social media and unverified ‘news’ from such Facebook pages can often be misconstrued as credible, contributing to the spread of fake news.

Translation: Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to increase the Benazir Income Support Program stipend from PKR 3000 to PKR 5000

 Another example is this image, in which the same template has been used to say that the Benazir Income Support Programme stipend, a welfare grant for poor families, has been increased from Rs3,000 to Rs5,000. , When in fact, the stipend was increased from Rs4,700 to Rs5,000.  This image, which is still up on the Facebook page, would mislead people  to believe that the stipend was increased by significantly more than it actually was.

Summary: No changes were made to weekly holidays. No such notification was issued. ZSN News creates doctored images which appear similar to those of legitimate TV News channels’ headlines, often spreading misinformation.

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