‘Pakistan complains on BBC alleged abuses’

Islamabad: Pakistani government filed formal complaints with British communications regulator and state-broadcaster, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for publishing a story on June 2 documenting alleged human rights abuses in tribal areas.

BBC report, titled uncovering Pakistan’s secret human rights abuses, looks into Pakistan’s long battle with militants as part of post-9/11 ‘war on terror’ and carries accounts of locals as well as top leader of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), Manzoor Pashteen.

A letter of complaint issued by External Publicity Wing of Information Ministry stated that BBC English and BBC Urdu both had published stories which “not only presented a fabricated theme, but also violated journalistic ethos”.

“The story also violates BBC’s editorial policy by not incorporating point of view of all stakeholders/citing credible sources/quoting authentic evidence etc.”

It was amounting to ‘indicting State of Pakistan for so-called ‘secret human rights abuses’ without any cogent evidence, according to complaint.

“The detailed analysis of its content reflects bias, spinning and angling of facts.

There are judgmental expressions in story which are a clear violation of journalistic norms of impartiality and objectivity,” letter said.

The government requested that matter be looked into for “appropriate action against author and editorial board linked to story”.
Additionally, it demanded that BBC remove “this defamatory and malicious story and issue a clear-cut apology”.

It warned that it retains right to pursue all legal options in Pakistan or UK if BBC authorities fail to retract “libellous and defamatory story and take action against its writer”.

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