News Desk |
The Pakistani government has filed formal complaints with the British communications regulator and state-broadcaster The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for publishing a story alleging abuse by Pakistani security forces in tribal areas.
On June 2, BBC published ‘Uncovering Pakistan’s secret human rights abuses’. The report alleges human rights abuses by security forces in the region during military operations launched to check and eliminate terrorist entities operating in the tribal districts.
In the complaint, the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage has stated that BBC English and BBC Urdu published the story which “not only presents a fabricated theme but it also violated journalistic ethos”.
The angling, spinning and credibility of the story are exposed from the fact that contrary to the published claim, the ISPR only received a judgmental questionnaire via email.
“The story also violates BBC’s editorial policy by not incorporating point of view of all stakeholders/ citing credible sources/ quoting authentic evidence etc.” Also, the complaint demands that “BBC removes this defamatory and malicious story, and issue a clear-cut apology”.
The ministry further said that the government expects “that in line with the Royal Charter, BBC’s own editorial guidelines and office of communication (OFCOM) will look into the content of the mala-fide, incorrect and misleading content of the story and take measures as per the BBC’s editorial guidelines”. “We also expect BBC authorities to ensure that in the future such fake stories specifically targetting Pakistan will not be disseminated.”
The complaint stated: “The detailed analysis of its content reflects bias, spinning and angling of facts. There are judgmental expressions in the story which are a clear violation of journalistic norms of impartiality and objectivity.”
The letter said that the matter be looked into for “appropriate action against the author and editorial board linked to the story”. Additionally, it demanded that BBC remove “this defamatory and malicious story and issue a clear-cut apology”.
The complainant has warned that it retains the right to pursue all legal options in Pakistan or the UK if BBC authorities fail to retract the libelous and defamatory story and take action against its writer.
Military Refutes BBC Report
Earlier, the military strongly rebutted the news report as “a pack of lies and in violation of journalistic ethos”. In a statement on that the BBC report, the military’s media wing – the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – said that it was based on ‘conjecturing’ and tried to “implicate Pakistan Army without any proof”.
“The angling, spinning and credibility of the story are exposed from the fact that contrary to the published claim, the ISPR only received a judgmental questionnaire via email.
The ISPR had said that the BBC was offered full opportunity – even interaction to know the facts. The BBC team, however, never responded and did a “preconceived, conjectured story”. It added that “the story is void of the context and understanding of the prevalent environment at that time.”