Washington, Oct 2: The United States has said that Pakistanis should be allowed to express their ideas freely, and added that Washington will take seriously any attempt to close down or hinder media organisations in the country.
The US takes "seriously any attempts to close or otherwise hinder media from taking appropriate actions," US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.
Casey said that the US had conveyed its concerns to the Pakistan Government both publicly and privately, urging it to "ensure that the media are free to report what"s happening in the country."
The State Department also urged Islamabad to make certain that the journalists were free to perform their duties "without intimidation and without fear of reprisal."
At a regular briefing in Washington, Casey noted that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken notice of Saturday"s incident when police beat up journalists who were performing their duties, and said that the apex court had "shown that it is capable" of dealing with situations like this.
Casey also urged the media, the lawyers and the government to "behave responsibly" and to take steps to ensure that the situation did not deteriorate any further.
He also noted that the Supreme Court has already ordered the suspension of Islamabad"s police chief and other officials.
"We want to see the Pakistani people express their views freely and peacefully, and we would hope that neither protestors nor law enforcement officials would resort to violence," another State Department official said.
"It"s a fundamental and important right of democratic countries to be able to demonstrate and express views peacefully," the Dawn quoted her, as saying.
"In terms of the media freedoms in Pakistan, we want to make sure that all legitimate media representatives are able to help inform the Pakistani people of what"s happening now and in the future," the official added. (ANI)>