Pak news channel banned for airing false clip of crashed PIA plane

Lahore: Pakistan’s electronic media regulator on Friday ordered that the Channel-24 be shut down for seven days for airing a “false and unverified” audio clip of the crashed PIA plane in which 47 people were killed on December 7.

The decision was taken “for airing false, unverified audio clip” by the news channel claiming that the clip was of the ill-fated Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane which was crashed near Islamabad, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) spokesman Muhammad Tahir said.

The regulator had issued a show-cause notice to the channel, directing its management to file a reply by December 15.

“The channel in reply to show-cause notice and personal hearing could not prove its claim. The authority thus took the decision keeping in view the gravity of the violation, its adverse mental and psychological impact on the family members of those boarded the plane and the general public that was already going through an emotional trauma,” Tahir said

The seven-day ban will come into effect from December 27.

Soon after the crash, an audio clip went viral on social media claiming to be the last audio before the plane crashed and was broadcast by Channel 24.

In the audio, people could be heard crying for help. However, it came to light that the clip was an audio of another plane.

The audio was released by Channel 24 during its 9:47 PM transmission on December 7 following which, PEMRA sent a notice to the channel for broadcasting the unverified audio clip.

PIA flight PK-661 smashed into a hillside in the country’s north while travelling from the city of Chitral to Islamabad on December 7. The airline said one of the planes’ two turboprop engines had failed.