Britain’s state-run media outlet, BBC, has been receiving flak on Pakistani social media for allegedly promoting the agenda of the anti-government alliance of Pakistan’s 11 opposition party, PDM.
While covering the rally of Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) in Peshawar on Sunday, BBC put up the headline, “Pakistan opposition seeks end to Imran Khan’s ‘puppet’ rule, in its article. A score of internet users pointed out the disturbing headline of the media outlet and slammed BBC for promoting the nefarious agenda of PDM.
A strong reaction came from the social media team of Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf (PTI) as well. A Twitter trend against BBC is trending atop on social media. Netizens have been voicing their condemnation of BBC under the #Shame_On_BBC on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the BBC has not responded to the backlash on social media. A score of PTI leaders has also voiced strong disapproval of the article released by BBC on its website.
While BBC exaggerated the strength of the crowd, Netizens tagged BBC and posted aerial footage of the rally, with a small crowd in attendance at the PDM rally in Peshawar that debased the claims of BBC.
Dear @BBCWorld , do you know your platform featured an article glorifying the PDM movement led by the person accused in Panama Papers? Other than the article being totally inaccurate, you also didn’t check the credibility of “independent sources” used for quotes. #Shame_On_BBC— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 23, 2020
“Dear @BBCWorld have you seen the ground situation of yesterday’s Jalsa about which you’ve published that biased article?That very PDM Jalsa has been totally ignored by locals & there was little to no gathering in that Jalsa. Pakistan rejected them collectively! #Shame_On_BBC,” said PTI in its statement.
“Dear @BBCWorld admin, can you please find out who gave the green light to the following article? ttps:/bbc.com/news/world-asia-55009241… It’s extremely biased & only shows the PDM narrative. Quite shameful to see BBC becoming a tool for corrupt politicians who are seeking NRO. #Shame_On_BBC,” said PTI in a tweet.
Dr. Arsalan Khalid, the focal person to Prime Minister Imran Khan, also tweeted on the controversy. He slammed the media outlet for publishing an article based on non-factual data, from allegedly a ‘biased’ journalist, Muhammad Ilyas Khan.
Khalid posted the images of a survey by Pakistan’s leading media outlet, Dawn, on the elections in Pakistan.
“Low point indeed for @BBCWorld by publishing a non factual article written by a biased journalist @MohammadIlyasKh. Opinions r fine but when facts r distorted, it becomes shameful. Sharing Dawn’s survey done before elections18 & Comparison table btw elections 13 & 18 #Shame_On_BBC,” wrote Khalid in a tweet. The Pakistani internet users are seeking an apology from the BBC.
Low point indeed for @BBCWorld by publishing a non factual article written by a biased journalist @MohammadIlyasKh.Opinions r fine but when facts r distorted,it becomes shameful. Sharing Dawn's survey done before elections18 & Comparison table btw elections 13 & 18 #Shame_On_BBC pic.twitter.com/m2YaFHABMA
— Dr Arslan Khalid (@arslankhalid_m) November 23, 2020
Protesters have demonstrated in the city of Peshawar, despite a government threat to ban gatherings to curb rising coronavirus cases. The PM, who came to power on an anti-corruption platform, has said the campaign is aimed at blackmailing him to drop corruption cases against opposition leaders. Pakistan’s powerful military denies interfering in politics and Mr. Khan rejects claims it helped him win.
What a biased piece by @BBCWorld!
There are so many factual inaccuracies, deliberate evasions, calculated generalisations & outright misstatements that one gets convinced that it has been written by someone with naked malice from PDM.
#BBC must check who is running it's office & affairs in PAKISTAN
It cannot be a political media wing to some political Anti State lobby or like #PDM we #Reject @BBC biased derogatory journalism in PAKISTAN#Shame_On_BBC— Kanwal Shauzab MNA (@KanwalMna) November 23, 2020
This is what BBC wrote:
BBC: PDM Rally
“Opposition parties say they want to overthrow the “unrepresentative” government, which they also accuse of putting pressure on the judiciary and mismanaging the economy.
“The PDM is the latest alliance that aims to restore “real” democracy in Pakistan’s perpetual civil-military conflict,” read the article.
The article also talked about the arrest of Safdar Awan, husband of Maryam Nawaz after the rally in Karachi.
“The move caused embarrassment to both the government and the military after footage of the raid emerged, showing security personnel breaking into Mr. Awan’s room when he was sleeping with his wife. Soon it emerged that hours before the raid, the police chief of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital, was taken from his residence to the offices of an intelligence service and “forced” to sign Mr. Awan’s arrest orders,” read the BBC article.