[FACT CHECK] Fake news about Meesha Shafi’s arrest and how Daily Mail played a part in it

Here is what happened.

Many Indian news outlets have claimed that Singer, Meesha Shafi, has been given a three-year sentence in a defamation lawsuit filed by Ali Zafar. 

Meesha became the talk of the town after she accused Ali of sexual harassment during the 2018 MeToo movement. 

Why did the Indian media report the news when no Pakistani outlet reported it?

It all started when the Wall Street Journal published a report on the 12th of March titled, Pakistani singer, faces Prosecution for accusing the pop star of groping her.” The editorial explained how Meesha has been prosecuted on a criminal charge and is facing possible prison time after falsely accusing the fellow singer.”

Following this, The DailyMail took it to the next level and reported the news by adding, “Pakistani singer faces three years in jail for criminal defamation” in its heading.

Later, the news entered India, and no one is surprised by what happened  next. All major news outlets in India, including IBTimes, ZeeNews, PINKVILLA, and many others, reported the news without verifying the facts.

Current Status of the Case

The Pakistani court has not indicted Meesha or any of the other respondents in the trial. The DailyMail using “faces jail” for Meesha is false. Perhaps in an attempt to not plagiarize word-by-word, the tabloid re-wrote it but got the basis wrong.

WSJ stated, “If convicted, the Pakistani singer could be convicted to up to three years in prison.” However, DailyMail omitted the first part and used only the second part in its headline, rendering it devoid of context. DailyMail is a UK tabloid, which has faced allegations of publishing unverified news.

The lawyer of Meesha Shafi, Asad Jamal, also clarified the news by calling it fake. He tweeted said it is regrettable that the Times of India published a hoax and that the court has indicted no accused.

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