Pakistani media embarrassed by fake WikiLeaks disclosures

Islamabad : The Pakistani media was in an acute embarrassing position Friday and offered apologies to the public after it published false stories about India based on fake WikiLeaks reports.

The media Thursday carried reports about India’s “anti-Pakistan activities” in the country’s tribal areas and Afghanistan.

Dunya TV said Friday that “the report released by a news agency attributing some statements to the US envoy in India that it (India) was involved in anti-Pakistan activities were found untrue”.

“It only goes to show that media is now being used for propaganda activities as well,” Dunya TV added.

The dispatch of the news agency, prominently carried by most leading Pakistani newspapers Thursday, quoted the US ambassador in India as saying that “India was ready for war with Pakistan in 2004”. “India was also carrying out anti-Pakistan activities in the country’s tribal region bordering Afghanistan,” it said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office, in its raection, had even gone to the extent of saying that “it was already aware of Indian designs in tribal areas and Afghanistan”, after the spokesman was questioned about the latest disclosures in the weekly briefing.

However, the US State Department’s denial of the referred cables gave a new spin to the entire episode.

“We are conscious of our responsibility towards the audience, and the media should not be used like this at the behest of vested interests,” said Pervez Shaukat, president of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. “It is awful to know that the story carried malicious designs,” said Urdu daily Khabrain.

“It only goes to show how the media can get carried away in the heat of the moment without checking the facts,” said daily Jang.

The News and Express Tribune dailies carried retractions Friday, while the TV channels ran stories to offer apologies to the general public.

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