The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Friday suspended journalist Shahid Masood’s television show on GNN for two weeks over “false news” regarding relief assistance handed to Turkiye in the wake of the earthquake that claimed more than 40,000 lives.
In a statement, Pemra said that Masood, in his show ‘Live with Dr Shahid Masood’, “made baseless” comments while “uttering false news” regarding the aid given by the Sindh government for the victims of last month’s earthquake.
“That programme was aired on February 16 and the comments caused irreparable damage to the diplomatic relationship between the two brotherly countries,” the authority said.
The press release highlighted that the contents of the programme were also “cited in international media for propaganda against Pakistan”.
It added that the content aired in Masood’s show was based on a clip taken from social media.
“A show cause notice was issued to the channel dated Feb 20 and an opportunity was given for a formal personal hearing,” Pemra said, adding that Dr Masood’s programme was banned for two weeks from March 10 after “considering the response of the channel”.
In the show which aired on February 16, Masood had claimed that the aid sent by Pakistan was in fact the same that Turkiye had sent during last year’s devastating floods. He further said that the aid had tags showing that it was from the Sindh government.
It is pertinent to mention that Masood had tendered an apology in the show which aired on February 20, saying that he spread the information “unintentionally”.
He said that he had had suddenly received a message from a Turkish or Syrian number moments before his programme was supposed to go live.
“When programmes are going live, we keep an eye out for current news,” he said. He noted that the authorities concerned, as well as the Pakistan embassy in Turkey, had looked into the matter after which it emerged that the claim was false.
“It wasn’t even on my mind that this will spread like wildfire,” he said. “I apologise from the bottom of my heart. Or should I excuse myself? I don’t know,” Masood said.