Loopholes in Pandora Papers reporting puts ICIJ’s credibility at stake: Usama Ghazi

Web DeskWeb Editor

07th Oct, 2021. 12:55 pm

KARACHI: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) questionable reporting on Pakistani individuals named in the Pandora papers scandal has put the credibility of the organisation at stake, said Bol News anchorperson Usama Ghazi during his show ‘Ab Pata Chala’.

The ICIJ opened a Pandora’s box recently by releasing the Pandora Papers – the massive leak in history featuring some 12 million financial documents from offshore companies.

However, in Pakistan, some media houses are running baseless campaigns against a few individuals, and guarding others, said Ghazi.

The anchor said that multiple news channels and newspapers termed the ICIJ report as misleading and full of half-baked information.

Around 700 Pakistanis were named in the Pandora Papers leaks, but the local media did not share details about many of them, he added.

“The ICIJ claims that everyone named in the Pandora Papers was contacted and sent a questionnaire, but this claim is far from reality,” said Ghazi, adding that no one sent any questionnaire or took the stance of many who were targeted in the report.

Ghazi revealed during the show that the two Jang Group employees — Umar Cheema and Fakhar Durrani — who worked with the ICIJ had shared their investigations with their employer in advance.

The anchorperson called Cheema a controversial reporter who has a history of producing fake news.

“Both Cheema and Durrani provided flawed information to the ICIJ at the behest of Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman,” said Ghazi.

“You can check his tweets. They have been full of hate for BOL News since its launch. This person [Umar Cheema] is running a campaign against BOL News, which reflects his bias. They should be asked, if they have ever tweeted anything about Mir Shakilur Rahman, owner of the media house which he works for, and his offshore companies, as his name is also mentioned in Pandora Papers,” asked analyst Baber Doger during the show.

Earlier, Mr. Shoaib had also rejected ICIJ’s report, saying the Pandora Papers, that accused him of owning an offshore company was malicious, ill-willed and misleading.

“Mr. Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh’s name was also in the Pandora Papers. We contacted the ICIJ and two Pakistani journalists and asked them about the questionnaire that Mr. Shoaib never received to get his stance,” said analyst Ghulam Murtaza on the show.

“It is a rule in journalism that the point-of-view of a person in question must be a part of a news story. But Cheema and Durrani failed to do so in the cases of many persons named in the Pandora leaks, while they managed to take the version of their own employer,” Dogar continued.

“Such a conduct has damaged ICIJ’s reputation, raising many questions about the credibility of the Pandora Papers,” Ghazi concluded.

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