US lashes disinformation in Solomon Islands election

A US diplomat has fired a broadside at Russian and Chinese state media for running an "overt disinformation campaign" targeting the Solomon Islands voters ahead of the election.

Ann Marie Yastishock branded claims that the US government and the US Agency for International Development are seeking to influence national and provincial elections, due Wednesday in the Pacific nation, as "categorically false" and "baseless accusations".

Russia's Sputnik news agency last week published an article featuring anonymous claims that the US was planning an "Electoral Coup" in the Solomon Islands, which were repeated in an article published by China's Global Times newspaper.

"We strongly refute allegations being made in known propaganda outlets that claim USAID and the US government has sought to influence the upcoming election in Solomon Islands," the ambassador to the Solomon Islands said in a statement.

AAP FactCheck has found dozens of posts linked to the Sputnik and Global Times articles or syndicated versions on Facebook, Telegram and X, formerly Twitter. 

Ms Yastishock said the Solomon Islands government asked for US assistance running the elections, and aid programs were run transparently in accordance with international standards.

Similar accusations "hidden behind fake sources" had previously been made by outlets that emphasised "sensationalism over facts". 

"This kind of overt disinformation campaign across multiple questionable platforms so close to an election should raise questions about the motivations of those propagating the articles," the ambassador added.

"These misleading and false claims from questionable sources and outlets should only be perceived as disinformation and an attempt to harm our longstanding partnership with Solomon Islands and the friendship between our people."

Wednesday's election includes races for 50 seats in the national parliament as well as for eight of the nation's 10 provincial governments.

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