Bonn, June 4 : Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf came under fire from journalists from different nations for banning TV news channels and not controlling the illegal FM radio stations run by the Taliban in the tribal areas, during his nine-year long regime.
The journalists, more than 850 in numbers from 94 countries, criticized Musharraf while participating in the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum on Tuesday.
Vincent Brossel from "Reporters without Borders" delivered a hard-hitting speech against Musharraf for his anti-media policies. He said the Musharraf regime broke all the records of recent history by banning more than three dozen TV channels and some anchors. He said that Musharraf banned many popular TV anchors for many months but failed to ban illegal FM radio stations run by the Taliban in tribal areas.
He mildly criticised PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and said that the new regime in Pakistan was also using the old anti-media laws to twist the arms of some TV channels. He also said that many so-called democratic governments in South Asia were not issuing licenses for new TV channels as a blackmailing tactic.
Others personalities who attracted criticism included Iranian President Ahmedi Nijad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Speakers said that telling the truth should not be a crime anywhere and there could be no democracy without an independent judiciary and free press. They criticised the anti-media policies of different governments and they also condemned the publication of blasphemous caricatures by Danish newspapers.
The Forum mainly discussed the role of the media in peace building and promoting democracy in conflict areas. Speakers spoke on length about the role of media in the war against terrorism, genocide in Darfur, civil war in Zimbabwe, human rights abuses in Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Tibet.