Tuesday, February 17, 2009

GMANews.TV warns public vs bogus Web site

This is taken from GMA Channel 7:

GMANews.TV, the official news Web site of GMA Network’s News and Public Affairs, would like to warn the public not to fall for a phony Web site masquerading as our site.

The sham Web site has the URL http://gmanewstv.comoj.com/karatekidaids.htm, and recently it posted a fabricated news item entitled "KARATE KID" FAST FOOD with AIDS!!!" The bogus story was about a 14-year-old boy who was diagnosed with AIDS after eating in a Makati restaurant.

A screen shot of the bogus Web site carrying the Karate Kid story has been circulating in Internet forums apparently to discredit GMANews.TV and the restaurant.

Legitimate Web sites can easily be faked through digital photo editing software applications. In the case of the fake GMANews.TV Web site, the perpetrators obviously made a screen grab of the nation page that contained the Red Cross kidnapping story, altered the copied page with a bogus Karate Kid story and posted it online using an obscure URL http://gmanewstv.comoj.com/karatekidaids.htm. This Web site does not belong to GMANews.TV or any of its affiliates, including its parent company, GMA Network Inc. and its Internet unit, GMA New Media Inc.

A comparison of the fake Web site and the GMANews.TV will reveal these glaring differences:

First, the fake Web site used all capital letters in the headline. These are not the style of GMANews.TV even if it is the end of the world.

Second, the fake Web site used triple exclamation points. These are also not the style of GMANews.TV.

Third, the fake Web site used a text font type that is different from the one used by GMANews.TV.

Fourth, articles tagged as related stories were about the kidnapping of International Committee of the Red Cross in Sulu.

Moreover, GMANews.TV has no writer named Karen Balagtsun, the supposed author of the atrocious news item.

GMANews.TV is continuing its investigation into the matter and we intend to make public the results of this inquiry.

Whoever is responsible for the fake site probably means it as a joke. While we here at GMANews.TV can take a joke, we take our journalism seriously. As such, we take this incident as an attack on the integrity not only of the GMANews.TV but also on the whole institution.

We reiterate our commitment to the practice of fair and ethical journalism, and remain true to our promise to provide unbiased and balanced reports and views to our reading public.

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