The BBC has accepted in a statement that some misinformation was present in comments made by Stephen Sackur, host of BBC’s HARDtalk, during its infamous interview with Ishaq Dar.
Sackur had rebutted claims of election malpractice made by Mr Dar by referring to a non-existent detail in an October 2018 Report by EU election monitors, claiming that the report stated that “the final and ultimate conclusion was that they believed the result was credible.” However, Dar, the former Finance Minister of Pakistan, had submitted a complaint to the program after extensive review of the document, confirming that no such statement could be found within the report.
The BBC says that they were, in fact, quoting comments made by Michael Gahler, a European MP and Chief Observer of this EU Monitors commission, which were made at a press conference — “overall, the election results are credible.” However, he also pointed towards his concerns towards the Pakistani election process. “Our overall assessment of the election process is that it is not as good as in 2013.” He went on to express his dissatisfaction with the ‘electables’, namely those with large “political appeal and financial means … uneven rules on campaign spending further undermined candidates’ equal opportunity.”
The report itself describes voting in the July 2018 elections as “well-conducted and transparent [for the most part] … [but] the count, transmission and tabulation of results lacked transparency, leaving room for allegations of electoral malpractices.”