US warns Pak against playing with media freedom

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Aug 12: After Pakistan shut down two TV channels as they reported news, which outraged Pakistani government, United States warned the Zardari government over restraining its media.

"We certainly think it would be a mistake for the Pakistani civilian government to follow the press intimidation that was present during its predecessor, Musharraf," said US spokesman P J Crowley regarding the issue.

According the sources, Geo TV and ARY stations reported that a pair of shoes had allegedly been thrown at president Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Birmingham, England.

After the report, which angered the president's supporters, both the TV stations were terminated from broadcasting in parts of Sindh province, including Karachi.

Crowley, however, reacted strongly against the aggressive Pakistani media regarding its role during the Kerry-Lugar Bill, which gives it $7.5 billion in five years.

"We ourselves, who have been to Pakistan, have witnessed and interacted with among the most vibrant media that exist anywhere in the world. The Pakistani press is very aggressive," said Crowley.

He also added, "We always have to take issues with particular stories that may or may not have a basis in fact, but we recognize that the dynamism that we do see in Pakistani society that a vibrant and free press contributes significantly to that."

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