Monday, October 30, 2023
By
Web Desk

WATCH: Babar Azam’s 'private' chat leaked on-air; anchor apologises for ‘wrong’ decision after backlash

Chat surfaced after ex-captain Rashid Latif claimed PCB's senior management is ignoring Babar Azam's messages

By
Web Desk

  • Chat surfaced after Rashid Latif made claims about Babar and PCB.
  • Azhar Ali questions if Babar's consent was taken before sharing chat.
  • No mention of date and time in chat between skipper, PCB official.


KARACHI: Netizens and former cricketers have expressed anger over broadcasting an alleged "private" WhatsApp chat between Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and a senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official, terming it a breach of privacy and an unethical move.

Reports were circulating on social media, which gained strength after former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif’s comments, that the senior management of the PCB was ignoring Babar Azam's messages.

Speaking on state broadcaster PTV Sports, Rashid Latif claimed that the captain has been sending messages to the PCB Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf, Chief Operating Officer Salman Naseer and Director of International Cricket Usman Wahla for the last two days, but all three of them are not responding.

What happened during live TV show?

The controversy also came under discussion on a private news channel when a screenshot of an alleged WhatsApp chat between the two was aired.

“Babar, there’s also been this news circulating on TV and social media that you have been calling Chairman and he’s not answering. Have you called him recently?”

To which, Babar Azam allegedly replied: “Salam Salman bhai, ma nay to sir ko koi call nai ke [Salam Salman bhai, I have not made any calls to sir].”

“Ok thanks,” the other person responded.

However, there was no mention of the date when the communication took place.

Former Pakistan cricketer, Azhar Ali, who was one of the guests on the show, asked the reporter whether he took Babar’s consent before leaking a private communication.

To which he said, as a reporter, he doesn’t need to ask.

This move didn’t sit well with netizens who blasted the TV channel management and the reporter over their “unethical” move.

“I think you all forgot that the WC tournament is still happening … & he is still presently the Captain of Pakistan. When will we grow up,” lamented Anila Khawaja, a UK-based Pakistani journalist.

Anchor apologises

Meanwhile, the anchor of the show, Waseem Badami, has apologised on behalf of his team and the TV management on the matter and explained his side of the story.

“When we are doing a live show in which a number of people are involved, a range of decisions are taken. Some of them are good and at times we make decisions which are wrong.

“And today, I think we took a wrong decision regarding an alleged WhatsApp chat between Babar Azam and a high-ranking PCB official. You may ask if that was a wrong move then why it happened.”

The anchor then went to explain what happened before the show and why they did, what they did.

“Before the show, we had consultations on the matter and decided against airing this,” Badami said.

However, minutes before the show, the anchor said, his production team came across a video clip of the PCB chief in which he reportedly allowed to air the chat and took full responsibility for the matter.

“At this point, we decided to broadcast the screenshot assuming that a responsible official is taking full responsibility for it. Conveniently forgetting that it is a private discussion between two individuals.”

The anchorperson also admitted that the decision was taken in “haste” just three to four minutes before the show but added that they didn't whether Babar Azam consented to airing it in a live show.

“But I think it was not an ideal decision and I’m saying this not only on my behalf but on my team’s and TV management’s behalf as well. Because we think, it was a private convo then it shouldn’t have been aired without consent.

“So, if it had hurt anyone. I apologise from the core of my heart and I’m not just proud of it… we are not proud of it.”

He concluded the video statement with a promise to learn from whatever happened and not to make this mistake again.

It is important to note that the PCB chief’s purported permission was not relevant here since it involved two private individuals and Zaka Ashraf wasn’t any of them. However, an official statement from the PCB can clear the air around this matter.