UK media regulator raps ARY over Malala slander
LONDON: Britain’s media regulator Ofcom has rapped ARY News over its show “Sawal Yeh Hai” which subjected Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousufzai and her father Ziauddin Yousufzai to slander and hate campaign, calling them traitors and enemies of Pakistan.
Ofcom started an investigation after receiving several complaints after the show was aired in February this year. Ofcom confirmed after it received complaints that Malala and her father were called “enemy of Islam”, “Jewish and western agent”, “traitor” and “anti-Pakistan”.
The ‘Sawal Yeh Hai’ made allegations against Malala during a discussion on Malala’s book called “I am Malala” and invited guests who made the allegations without any proof. ARY argued that the book was a fair comment and it was discussion on Malala and her father.
Ofcom carefully considered the content of the programme overall. Ofcom noted the description of the programme as being “quite a highly charged discussion [that] did contain critical comment”.
ARY also argued that many of the “elements” in the programme that were critical of Malala and her father “relate to tone, emphatic expression and how the translation from Urdu has been interpreted and fail to take account of context”.
Ofcom commented: “In our view, this programme was likely to be perceived by the audience as a sustained, one-sided verbal attack on a young woman who had been the victim of a traumatic and life-threatening terrorist attack.
“The tone adopted throughout the programme was, either directly or indirectly, highly dismissive and critical of Malala, her opinions, her actions – and importantly – the traumatic and life-threatening attack she had experienced as a teenager. While it was in our view legitimate for a discussion to challenge or question some of the criticisms that Malala had made in her book about various Pakistani institutions, we considered the programme went further than that.
“It contained a series of highly critical comments about Malala that amounted to personal abuse. In this regard, we did not agree with ARY’s argument that the comments included in the programme about Malala were presented in the form of debate not a personal attack.
“Ofcom considered its disclaimer was not sufficient to justify the broadcast of the offensive content in this case. “This was because it contained no content that would have mitigated or challenged the many and repeated comments which criticised and abused Malala and her father. Ofcom considered that there was clearly insufficient context to justify the offensive content, and Rule 2.3 was breached.” Malala and Ziauddin now have the right to take their case to civil courts in the UK to seek damages and apology.