ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has raised the issue of fake news of BBC with the British authorities.

The Ministry has submitted a complaint along with a detailed dossier to BBC authorities and Ofcom, the British regulator of communications.

The complaint said the news story not only presents a fabricated theme but it also violated journalistic ethos. It added that the story also negated BBC’s editorial policy by not incorporating point of view of all stakeholders, citing credible sources or quoting authentic evidence.

The complaint demanded that BBC remove this defamatory and malicious story, and issue a clear-cut apology.

It also demanded to ensure that in the future such fake stories specifically targeting Pakistan are not disseminated.

The complaint says “Being objective, factual and impartial are the core values of journalism. In line with these tenets, media must stay away from subjectivity, spinning news and biases. Equally important is to present the version of all stakeholders without angling. Manipulating the news items through half-truths, lies and exaggerated, one sided accounts to support pre-determined conclusions, indicate agenda setting and undermines the credibility of a news organisation. “Mass Media are the principal connection between events in the world and images in the mind of the public” (Walter Lippman, Public Opinion 1922). “Media has the ability to influence the importance placed on the topics of public discourse” (Agenda Setting Theory Max McCombs and Donald Shaw 1968). Therefore, words matter as they affect the public opinion,” it added.

It further says: “Public funded organisations (e.g. BBC) share greater responsibility to uphold objectives ordained in their charter & editorial guidelines. BBC’s story “Uncovering Pakistan’s Secret Human Rights Abuses” dated June 2 2019, accuses Pakistan and its Armed Forces of killing innocent civilians – a charge which doesn’t have an iota of truth and is not backed by evidence. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), office of the Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson, received an email from Simon Fraser - Asia Editor, of the BBC Website - titled “Human Right Abuses in North Waziristan” on March 28, 2019, claiming, “BBC has gathered evidence that members of Pakistan military are guilty of widespread human right abuses against residents in North Waziristan over a period of many years”.

After analyzing the questions and the vague statements termed so-called evidence, the ISPR responded to email on April 1, 2019 saying that “the expression of email is highly judgmental. Before undertaking the story, an interaction is suggested to know the facts”. (copy attached as Anx ‘B’). However, despite ISPR’s offer for a detailed interaction, BBC went ahead with its one sided story in violation of its own editorial guidelines and charter.”