October 04, 2021
ISLAMABAD—Chairman and CEO of the BOL Media Group, Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh, has shown extreme anger over the Pandora Papers, claiming the ICIJ's report accusing him of owning an offshore company was malicious, ill-willed, and misleading.
He also accused Pakistani journalist members of the ICIJ of being biased, saying they were using this forum to spread fake news and working on the agenda of their media owners.
"... the two local journalists working for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Pakistan did not bother to verify facts or even take the version of people whom they tried to scandalize through their so-called investigative work," he stated angrily.
"Basic journalism ethics say that when you are accusing a person, at least try to get his version. But in my case, and of many others accused of owning offshore companies in the Pandora Papers, no such exercise was done."
He said both the local journalists—Umar Cheema and Fakhar Durrani — work for a rival media group, which has an open bias towards the BOL Media Group.
He said the ICIJ and the local journalists should answer the following questions:
1) Why was no attempt made to take the version of those accused in the Pandora Papers? Is it not part of the ICIJ's SoPs to take the version of the people accused of owning offshore companies?
2) If an individual is falsely accused and defamed in these papers, will the two local journalists working for the ICIJ tender an apology and give up their assignment?
3) Will the ICIJ take any action against these two journalists if found involved in dishonestly accusing and defaming individuals?
4) Does the ICIJ counter-check the information provided by the journalists working for it?
5) The local journalists working for the ICIJ only took the response of Mir Shakil ur Rahman, owner of the media house for which they work, but not of any other. Doesn't this alone show bias? Is anyone in the ICIJ taking note of this?
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