CEO Shoaib Shaikh Refused the allegations by ICIJ Pandora Papers
Chairman and CEO of the Bol Media Group and Axact, Mr. Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, said on Monday that the ICIJ’s report, the Pandora Papers, that accused him of owning an offshore company was malicious, ill-willed and misleading.
He said that while the spirit of this initiative remains positive as it exposes individuals, who laundered ill-gotten money to off-shore safe-havens, but 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.
“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 off-shore 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 no attempt was 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 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 Shakilur Rahman, owner of the media house for which they themselves work for, but not of any other. Doesn’t this alone show his bias? Is anyone in the ICIJ taking note of this?
Shoaib Shaikh said that the ICIJ’s Pandora Papers gives an impression that at least in Pakistan, the ICIJ members are biased, using this forum to peddle fake news, and working on the agenda of their owners by maliciously nominating some individuals to defame them.
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