Off air: BBC ban an ‘intolerable interference’ in press freedom

Published: December 2, 2011

Cable operators pulled the channel late Tuesday amid anger over NATO air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

LAHORE: 

The Centre for Peace and Democracy has condemned the All Pakistan Cable Operators Association decision to stop airing BBC World as an “intolerable interference” in press freedom.

The ban will result in millions of viewers across Pakistan being deprived of their right of access to information, said Muhammad Shoaib Adil, the CPD’s executive director, in a statement released on Thursday. The CPD is a non-government organisation that aims to promote secular and democratic values in the country.

Adil accused the cable operators of taking the step at the behest of the establishment.

The cable operators made the announcement at a press conference earlier this week, citing the BBC programme Secret Pakistan as one of the reasons.

Adil said that by imposing a unilateral ban on a news channel, the cable operators were “dictating their terms” to the viewers. He said their action was an abuse of power.

He said that the media was at the centre of the struggle to restore democratic values in Pakistan and curbing it would set back this struggle. He said all Pakistan’s governments had sought to control the press to keep a check on public debate and criticism.

He said the current government had taken very few steps to ensure the freedom of the press, and its failure to take action against the cable operators for taking the BBC off air was the latest example of its lack of commitment to this freedom.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2011.

Reader Comments (5)

  • qudratullah
    Dec 2, 2011 - 10:53AM

    Each country has every right to take decisions keeping in view its strategic interests. BBC has always proved it being a nasty propaganda machine of the devilish West vis-à-vis Pakistan. Tribune should learn to be objective than to become a pawn in war against Pakistan.

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  • Bahadur Ali
    Dec 2, 2011 - 10:53PM

    BBC is no friend or well wisher of Pakistan. Most of the time it’s promoting Indian agenda in Pakistan also telling Pakistani how unlucky they are of being Pakistani and not Indian.

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  • Mj
    Dec 3, 2011 - 12:01AM

    The thing is, Pakistanis want to live in a bubble. They want to be told everyday by state sponsored and approved channels that our country is the best, smartest, most honest and trustworthy country there is, that every problem which exists here is the result of some broad global conspiracy. So when they come across some opinion which contradicts their delusional state a short circuit occurs, and the most common reaction is to ban any such information which might puncture the bubble.

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  • Bahadar Ali
    Dec 3, 2011 - 12:22AM

    How come BBC broadcast Indian somewhat achievements to Pakistan but when it comes to any Pak success in any field what so ever it always have trouble saying it rest aside telling it in Indian media. You know why? Half of the staff in BBC is from India. India never asked for Independence from British. They even offered the viceroy Indian highest office after partition. Pakistan public know about their leaders and the government more than Indians know about theirs. I say to the foreign based critics! You live your life and let us live ours or in easy term: Mind your own business.

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  • Safar Shah
    Dec 4, 2011 - 2:08AM

    Banning BBC is NOT an attack on free press. It is to control the vitriol lies and propaganda against Pakistan , its people, and its institutions. Trying to counter organized Information warfare against Pakistan which is backed by over $250 million dollars in USAID is within the right of Pakistani citizens.

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