BBC Facing Crunches of Credibility

Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan Army has challenged credibility of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) regarding a news report published by BBC on June 2, 2019, titled “Uncovering Pakistan’s Secret Human Rights Abuses”.

Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) has called the story a “pack of lies and in violation of journalistic ethos”.

ISPR says that the story carries conjecturing implicating Pakistan Army without any proof. “The angling, spinning and creditability of the story is exposed from the fact that contrary to published claim, ISPR only received a judgmental questionnaire via email. In response ISPR offered full opportunity even interaction to know the facts. BBC team never responded and did a preconceived conjectured story”, said ISPR in its statement issued on June 3, 2019.

SourceS in defence circles indicate that ISPR has decided to contest BBC story and send legal notice for withdrawal of what ISPR considers a “pack of lies and a baseless story”.

“This is not the first time that a story of BBC has been contested and challenged rather BBC is facing this situation often now in Europe where laws are tough and BBC is not allowed to play havoc with others with its fabricated stories, lack of knowledge and absence of understanding with events”, commented senior journalist and analyst Agha Iqrar Haroon when he was asked for his opinion over the situation.

He was of the view that there is (was) a dire need to review the situation by the BBC management. Situation is actually a kind of credibility crises which BBC is facing. BBC managers and internal content board (if BBC has any) should come forward and rescue BBC from Crunches of Credibility by ensuring that basic journalistic ethics and reporting rules are being followed in BBC News Room.

Have a look at some of BBC stories in recent past which compelled BBC to submit apologies.

News are reproduced without any change here under about certain cases of sheer humiliation BBC faced recently:

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March 28, 2019

BBC pays damages to Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko over report

The BBC has apologised and agreed to pay damages to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.

The apology relates to an incorrect report claiming a payment was made to extend a meeting between Mr Poroshenko and US President Donald Trump.

An article, published last May but since removed from the BBC website, alleged $400,000 was paid to Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

The allegation, relating to a meeting in June 2017, was untrue.

The BBC also featured the report in a News at Ten television bulletin in the UK.

BBC corrections and clarifications

“We apologise to Mr Poroshenko for any distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages, legal costs and have participated in a joint statement in open court,” the broadcaster said.

January 29, 2019

The BBC has admitted it was in the wrong after Labour made a formal complaint about the “unacceptable” treatment of Diane Abbott on Question Time last week.

The corporation has rejected claims that offensive comments were made about the MP during the warm-up ahead of the programme.

But a spokesperson said they were “sorry” to hear her concerns and admitted the state of Labour’s polling should have been made clear.

The shadow home secretary said she had been told Ms Bruce had made unpleasant remarks about her to the audience before filming began and the audience had been “wound up” against her.

Members of the audience claimed that host Fiona Bruce had made jokes at the Labour frontbencher’s expense including suggesting Ms Abbott only had her job because of her past relationship with Jeremy Corbyn.

April 20, 2018

The BBC today apologised for mistakenly referring to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a live news broadcast of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) last night.

The Sri Lankan President was seen disembarking from his car at the entrance of Buckingham Palace to join the other heads of government for the CHOGM launch hosted by Queen Elizabeth II when the BBC host said Modi, “the Prime Minister of India since May 2014 arriving at Buckingham Palace”.

“This was a mistake made during a live broadcast and we apologise for our error,” a BBC spokesperson said.

According to reports, the news presenter on duty was given incorrect information which she went out to read out on air.

This is not the first time the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) finds itself in this embarrassing position.

In December last year, the public broadcaster aired clips from the 1976 box-office hit ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ with actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor in song sequences when referencing the death of actor Shashi Kapoor.

December 5, 2017

“BBC ‘News at Ten’ is very sorry wrong images were used to mark the death of Shashi Kapoor. Not our usual standards and I apologise for any upset,” ‘News At Ten’ editor Paul Royall said in a statement on Twitter soon after the broadcast on December 5, 2017.

The BBC has apologised after showing two clips of the wrong actor while reporting the death of Shashi Kapoor.

On Monday evening’s News at Ten, two video clips were played as presenter Huw Edwards announced the Bollywood actor had died aged 79.

But neither of the men shown were Kapoor – one was his nephew Rishi and the other was actor Amitabh Bachchan.

The programme’s editor Paul Royall apologised on Twitter for the mistake shortly after the bulletin aired.

Pakistan Army and the BBC

Pakistan Army believes that BBC story titled “Uncovering Pakistan’s Secret Human Rights Abuses” is fabricated and contrary to the facts.

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ISPR has raised several questions about the story and has demanded BBC to tender apology.

BBC in its report claims that a number of cases highlighted by the PTM – and which the BBC investigated independently – were shared with a Pakistani military spokesman but he declined to respond, calling such allegations “highly judgmental”.

BBC further claims that there was no response to BBC requests for comment from the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, even though Mr Khan raised the issue of rights abuses in the tribal areas when he was an opposition politician.

However, ISPR of Pakistan shared a screen shot of correspondence with BBC offers BBC for full interaction over the story and suggest for detail discussion in the sense of its correspondence with BBC. ISPR takes a position as:

ISPR only received a judgmental questionnaire via email. In response ISPR offered full opportunity even interaction to know the facts (copy attached). BBC team never responded and did a preconceived conjectured story.

Meanwhile, Shireen Mazari, a former senior journalist who had been heading English newspapers in past and now is Federal Minister has challenged credibility of BBC in her tweeter messages.

 

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Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.