June 29, 2020
ISLAMABAD—Press Network of Pakistan (PNP) has proven false a news story of Voice of America Urdu service, saying the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) had never suggested the duration of 30 minutes between a flash and thunder as dangerous.
According to PNP, a news report appeared on the Urdu website of VOA with the title Asmani Bijli Chamakny ka Naya Aalmi record (New world record of lightning) on Saturday, saying WMO had verified two "megaflashes" of lighting in South America that set records for longest distance and longest duration.
Furthermore, the VOA Urdu, while concluding the story shared the safety tips, saying WMO suggested the duration of 30 minutes between a flash and thunder as dangerous. The story was shared on Facebook page and created panic among the masses in the context of recent casualties in neighboring India amid thunder and lightning strikes.
PNP revealed facts about the said news, saying the official website of UN Agency WMO has never suggested that the duration of 30 minutes between a flash and thunder was something to be afraid of. It added that the Agency in a press release emphasized: "The findings highlight important public lightning safety concerns for electrified clouds where flashes can travel extremely large distances (30-30 rule —if time between flash and thunder is less than 30 seconds, go inside! And wait 30 minutes after the last observed flash to resume outdoor activities."
The English website of VOA, in its report published on June 26, 2020 under the title "UN Weather Agency Recognizes 2 World Record Lightning Strikes" also mentioned that: "As a safety tip, the WMO suggests if the time between the flash and thunder is less than 30 seconds, go inside! And wait 30 minutes after the last observed flash to resume outdoor activities."
However, the VOA Urdu apparently misreported the facts while translating from English to Urdu language.
Later, VOA Urdu on its Facebook post announced that the fact had been corrected.
PNP Fact Check is an initiative by the Press Network of Pakistan (PNP), a newswire service registered with the Press Information Department (PID), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Islamabad.
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