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November 16, 2007

Protests in defence of press freedom in Pakistan

By Julie Tomlin GR

The clampdown on independent broadcasters and the introduction of a new law governing the content of news reports has been met with daily protests in Pakistan, the Voice of America reports.

Journalists protested yesterday in Pakistan calling for a complete end to the press crackdown. Protests were organised in Nepal, and around the world ins upport of Pakistani journalists. In the UK, the NUJ joined Amnesty International in a protest outside the Pakistan High Commission.

Reuters reported yesterday that two Pakistani news channels have gone back on air after agreeing that they will abide by the PEMRA rules.

This follows a ruling as reported by Dawn that only those broadcasters willing to abide by the new Code of Conduct laid down by the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority have been allowed to broadcast.

Minister of State Tariq Azeem is reported to have said that TV channels could resume transmission if they agreed “not to indulge in deliberate defamation’or criticise the armed forces and judiciary. Channels had to also avoid showing gory scenes.

The Chicago Tribune reports that 40 independent Pakistani TV stations have been taken off since Musharraf declared a state of emergency on 3 November.

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