Complaint against Dunya News upheld by Ofcom

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Pakistani news broadcaster, Dunya News has been rapped by Ofcom after it broadcast a programme, in which Ms Reham Rehman complained of unjust or unfair treatment in the programme as broadcast.

The show ‘On The Front’ aired in June 2018, included extended commentary from the programme’s presenter and discussion with a guest regarding the contents of Ms Rehman’s unpublished autobiography. The presenter and the guest made a number of claims about Ms Rehman and her motivations for writing the book during the programme.

Ofcom considered that the comments made in the programme about Ms Rehman’s personal reputation and her motivation for writing the book, the broadcaster did not take reasonable care to satisfy itself that material facts had not been presented, disregarded or omitted in a way that was unfair to Ms Rehman.

Ms Rehman said her reputation was attacked in the programme, which called her “worse than a prostitute” and “a woman with no honour or dignity”. She was also compared to Christine Keeler, whom Ms Rehman identified as “an English model and a topless showgirl who used to dance at clubs”. Ms Rehman stated that the “cruel, hurtful and hateful” content has caused “immense pain and distress” to herself and her children.

She was falsely accused of “dealing with” the president of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) political party and receiving money from him in exchange for writing a book.

Ofcom considered that, in the particular circumstances of this case, the broadcaster did not take reasonable care to satisfy itself that material facts had not been presented, disregarded or omitted in a way that was unfair to Ms Rehman. It therefore concluded that Ms Rehman was treated unjustly or unfairly in the programme as broadcast.

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