OPERATED BY CEJ

False

FACT-CHECKED

by CEJ |

Viral list of journalists, media figures allegedly paid by Bahria Town is fake

On June 1, 2024, a post circulated with images showing a list of Pakistani journalists allegedly receiving money and other benefits from Bahria Town. However, the real estate company issued a statement confirming that the list was fake.

Claim

Leaked list of journalists, media figures paid by Bahria Town

Rating Justification

The iVerify Pakistan team has checked this content and has established that it is false.

To arrive at this verdict, the iVerify Pakistan team checked whether the Bahria Town administration addressed the matter.

Multiple posts and an image of a list with the letterhead of Bahria Town circulating on social media since June 1 claimed to show various journalists and media figures allegedly paid off by the real estate developer in monetary terms or other ways. However, the organisation rejected the list as being fake.

Bahria Town is a private real estate developer owned by Pakistani businessman Malik Riaz. According to Dawn.com, the influential property tycoon and Bahria Town have recently attracted attention due to Riaz’s unusual social media posts, in which he claimed to be under pressure to align with a political side.

He and his firm have also been at the centre of multiple court cases; most recently being ordered by the Supreme Court to pay the amount the real estate developer owed to the Sindh government for the acquisition of land for Bahria Town Karachi.

HOW IT STARTED

On June 1, 2024, images circulated on social media of a list with Bahria Town’s letterhead that had the names of various Pakistani journalists and media personnel and various payments or asset transfers to them.

A Facebook post by journalist Zahid Bhutta said: “The first consequence of provoking Malik Riaz has arrived. This is just the first instalment.”

An X user, who appears to be a PTI supporter based on his past posts, also shared a video in which the faces of journalists whose names were on the list were edited with a song and said “Bahria Town released the list of journalists who received financial benefits from Malik Riaz. Now next time the list of officials in the establishment can be expected to be released after the politicians. Bahria Town sources.”

The post gained over 107,000 views.

The list was also shared here, here, here and here.

METHODOLOGY

The fact check was initiated due to its virality and the alleged leak list implicating a lot of senior journalists and media figures in Pakistan.

Checking the official accounts of the real estate developer to see if it had addressed the matter yielded Bahria Town’s statement issued on June 1 on its official X account and reposted by Riaz as well.

The X post said, “Fake list exposed! A fake list is circulating on social media, falsely alleging that journalists were paid by Bahria Town. The letterhead used in this list is also fraudulent. Bahria Town intends to pursue legal action against those responsible for spreading this misinformation.”

Journalist and anchor Asma Shirazi said in a June 2 X post that the list was “run several times every year for nefarious purposes to defame journalists”.

Further investigation revealed that the same list was being discussed as far back as 2015 by a Pakistani news forum.

A Dawn report from July 19, 2012, titled: “Journalists, anchors with alleged Bahria Town link: Petition filed in SC to seek probe,” also mentioned journalists requesting the Supreme Court for an inquiry into a list of media figures who were allegedly granted favours by owners and administration of Bahria Town.

“The context in which the petition has been filed is very clear. Soon after real estate tycoon Malik Riaz claimed that he had paid huge sums of money to Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, for possible relief in certain court cases, a leaked conversation between Mr Riaz and two anchorpersons during intervals of a talk show had provoked public anger against the media. The following day a list apparently on the letterhead of the Bahria Town was circulated on social media, containing names of the anchors and journalists allegedly paid hefty amounts by the Bahria Town besides luxury cars, plots, houses and sponsored visits to foreign countries,” the report said.

FACT-CHECK STATUS: FALSE

The claim regarding an alleged viral list showing the details of high-profile journalists and anchors receiving free perks and favours from Bahria Town is false.

The real estate developer issued a statement debunking the statement and the investigation showed that it was circulated as far back as 2012 and thus has no links to the developer’s current legal issues.