Fact check: Mehdi Hasan did not take money for Imran Khan interview as alleged by Hina Butt

PML-N MPA from Punjab Hina Parvez Butt has accused journalist Mehdi Hasan of taking money from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

The accusation is not only false but reflects poorly on Butt who clearly has no understanding of how serious online news outlets work and operate.

Yesterday, prominent foreign journalist Mehdi Hasan uploaded his exclusive interview with PTI founder Imran Khan who is currently in Adiala Jail. The interview was posted on Mehdi’s private venture, Zeteo and next to his byline its said “PAID”.

A screengrab from Zeteo: 

The mention of ‘PAID’ here does not refer to ‘paid content’ or ‘sponsored content’, which typically means that the person or business being covered in the article is paying the publication for this service.

It in fact means that the article is behind a paywall and has to be paid for by readers to be fully accessible; a very normal practice by online publications to generate revenue.

Hina Parvaiz Butt however, without understanding this or attempting to get any clarity from someone familiar with such matters, tweeted about this and suggested that the PTI has paid Mehdi to do the article.

Here is her tweet:

Butt highlighted the ‘PAID’ text and wrote “paisay lo, interview do”, meaning “take money, give interview”.

Mehdi, a seasoned journalist who has worked in some of the largest media houses around the world, including Al Jazeera and MSNBC, called Butt out.

After explaining the meaning of the words “PAID” on his article he goes on to say “imagine being this ignorant and conspirations and elected.

Mehdi’s tweet

It is pertinent to mention here that Butt is a graduate of Lahore School of Management Sciences (LUMS). She is a close ally of CM Maryam Nawaz and has been a member of Punjab Assembly since 2013.


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