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BBC apologises for confusing Imran Khan with Wasim Akram

During its flagship night-time news show, ‘Newsnight’, BBC2 showed footage of former left-arm pacer Akram instead of right-handed all-rounder Khan as he emerged as the frontrunner in the Pakistani general elections.

world Updated: Jul 26, 2018 18:32 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, London
Imran Khan,Wasim Akram,BBC
Cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), gives a speech as he declares victory in the general election in Islamabad, Pakistan.(PTI Photo)

The BBC has issued an apology for confusing Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan with his former teammate Wasim Akram in its election-related coverage.

During its flagship night-time news show, ‘Newsnight’, BBC2 showed footage of former left-arm pacer Akram instead of right-handed all-rounder Khan as he emerged as the frontrunner in the Pakistani general elections.

At the end of the programme, presenter Evan Davis said: “We made a mistake in our opening tonight. The footage we showed was of the cricketer Wasim Akram not Imran Khan.”

Wasim Akram, unlike Imran Khan, has remained linked to cricket since his retirement and spends much of his time commentating on the game. (Hindustan Times)

“Don’t know how that happened, sincere apologies for that.”

Both Akram and Khan are well-known faces of Pakistan cricket. Khan, who retired from the sport in 1992, had led the country to victory at the 1992 Cricket World Cup, Pakistan’s first and only victory in the competition. He has since moved on to lead the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which emerged as the single-largest party in the elections held yesterday.

Akram, meanwhile, has remained linked to cricket since his retirement and spends much of his time commentating on the game.

“We’d like to reiterate the sincere apology we made on air last night for an error that occurred during the programme,” a BBC spokesperson said.

“We are looking into how this mistake happened and will be tightening our processes on Newsnight to prevent an incident like this happening again,” the spokesperson added.

Viewers were quick to pick up on the error on social media, with one saying on Twitter: “Let me guess – your researcher just googled ‘Pakistani cricketer’ – assuming they all look alike eh?’

Back in April, the BBC was similarly caught out for mistakenly referring to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a live news broadcast of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.

The Sri Lankan President was seen disembarking from his car at the entrance of Buckingham Palace to join the other heads of government for the CHOGM launch hosted by Queen Elizabeth II when the BBC host said: Modi, “the Prime Minister of India since May 2014 arriving at Buckingham Palace”. PTI AK PMS PMS

First Published: Jul 26, 2018 18:17 IST