19/03/2017 12:43 GMT

BBC Asian Network Apologises After Asking 'What Is The Right Punishment For Blasphemy?'

'Are you serious?'

The BBC has apologised after asking “what is the right punishment for blasphemy?” was on its Asian Network account.

The question posed was designed to promote a debate about Pakistan’s crackdown on blasphemy on social media.

Presenter Shazia Awan asked viewers whether they agreed with Pakistan’s actions and asked what was “the right way to handle blasphemy”.

The question prompted outrage, with many comparing such violations of freedom of speech to other forms of control in oppressive states.

Others pointed out that blasphemy was “not a crime”.

While some objected to licence fee money going towards such debates.

The BBC Asian Network later tweeted an apology, saying they “never intended to imply blasphemy should be punished”, adding that they “got it wrong”.

A BBC spokesperson added: “Asian Network’s Big Debate asks difficult and provocative questions every day.

“This programme was an engaging discussion on the subject of blasphemy, but we admit that the question could have been phrased better, as we have since made clear.”

This week Pakistan said it has asked Facebook to help investigate “blasphemous content” posted on the social network.

Facebook has agreed to send staff to Pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site, the BBC reports.