BBC reporter’s tweet causes massive media storm over Queen’s health

An errant tweet from a BBC reporter has prompted a flurry of social network activity and ensuing media storm, with the tweet stating that the Queen had been admitted to hospital.

Ahmen Khawaja, who is a broadcast journalist for BBCUrdu.com, made the tweet which the Guardian spotted. It said: "Breaking: Queen Elizabeth is being treated at King Edward 7th hospital in London. Statement due shortly."

And worse still, preceding that tweet, she actually stated that the Queen had died.

As you can imagine, once that was picked up by some major news outlets, things started to go a bit nuts – but there was no truth in the tweet, with Buckingham Palace issuing an official statement to deny that there is anything wrong with the Queen.

So why was the tweet made? Well, there are several different stories on that score, as it appears both the Beeb and the reporter rushed to cover their backs.

According to the BBC, it was performing a "category one obituary rehearsal" (a technical rehearsal, apparently, for what the corporation will do when our monarch or a member of the Royal family does pass away) during which the staff member erroneously sent the tweet.

As for the reporter herself, she initially called it a false alarm, and then claimed she’d left her phone at home and someone had got hold of the handset and played a “silly prank”. “Apologies for upsetting anyone,” she added.

The Guardian reports that she then deleted those tweets, and her Twitter account was closed, but contrary to the latter assertion, Khawaja’s account appears to be alive and well. The only statement regarding the matter now is a tweet which says: “False Alarm: Have deleted previous tweets!!”

A number of Twitter denizens then proceed to call her a liar in the ensuing conversation thread.

The BBC says it is now investigating the matter as part of a “disciplinary process”.

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