Misleading posts viewed hundreds of thousands of times claim the documentary about Pakistan"s prime minister"s alleged corruption is an "upcoming Netflix series", but the film"s producer told AFP it was being produced independently. A Netflix spokesperson also said the company is not involved in the production.
The video was shared here on Twitter on October 17, 2022 and has been viewed over 300,000 times. Comments on this and similar posts indicate that many users believed the documentary was produced by Netflix. "Netflix series about Dirty money Stashed in London...Behind Doors. Coming Soon...!!!" reads the tweet.
In the one-minute, 41-second clip, titled Behind Closed Doors, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his sons are accused of involvement in illegal financial operations. The Sharif family, including three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, brother of the current prime minister, has been implicated in countless allegations of corruption and money laundering. The family denies the allegations, saying they are politically motivated.
Sharif took office on April 11 following a parliamentary no-confidence vote in which lawmakers voted to impeach his predecessor Imran Khan. Since then, Khan, chairman of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has launched a political campaign against the ruling coalition, organizing rallies across the country in an attempt to cripple the government and force early elections.
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The misleading video has been viewed more than 72,000 times in social media posts, along with similar claims on Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. The video was too shared on Twitter with a comparative claim by PTI pioneers Taimur Khan Jhagra, Momina Basit and Faisal Amin Khan, where it was seen more than 28,000 times.Shireen Mazari, who served as the country"s human rights minister during Khan"s administration, retweeted the trailer with a similar claim, which was then shared more than 2,400 times.
Social media users seem to believe the documentary is being produced by Netflix.
"His supporters will still celebrate this saying "Look, Netflix is making a documentary about our leader!"" read one comment in urdu. "Praise be to Allah. Even international media like Netflix are making documentaries about him," said another user. However, a Netflix spokesperson told AFP the platform had no plans to add the documentary to its service.
A Google catchphrase search found the same video posted here on YouTube on October 17, 2022 by a YouTube channel worked by Autonomous POV, an autonomous production company that creates documentaries that investigate the points of mystery, monetary violations, and mishandle of power. The video"s caption reads in part: "Behind Closed Doors is a film about corruption in high places and those who enable it."
Michael Oswald, the documentary"s producer, said he had no affiliation with Netflix. "Like all Independent POV documentaries to date, they are independently produced and financed," he told AFP. The documentary"s official website links to a crowdfunding page to help support its production.
"Behind closed doors"
According to the Behind Closed Door synopsis, "it is a film about corruption in high places and those who enable it."
The statement went on to read: “Politically exposed persons (PEPs) are people who hold public office and, as a result, are at a higher risk of being involved in bribery or corruption. Offshore leaks have repeatedly revealed that PEPs use UK finance and UK offshore jurisdictions to launder their wealth, hide their wealth and reinvest it in the global financial system. London is where they buy property, where they take legal action against their critics and where they live when they fall from grace."
He concludes: "But what happens when a developing country fights back and tries to get Britain to return money it claims was stolen?"