Gilani pledges to look into BBC ban

Gilani says in BBC interview Pakist­ani author­ities suppor­t media freedo­m, abolis­hed past "Dracon­ian"...

Afp December 11, 2011

LONDON: The BBC on Friday welcomed a promise by Pakistan's prime minister to investigate the blocking of the BBC World News channel in the country after it showed a documentary about the Taliban.

In a statement issued in London, the BBC said Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had pledged in an interview with the broadcaster that he would "look into" the ban.

Gilani said in the interview that Pakistani authorities supported media freedom and had abolished "Draconian" laws from the past.

"And we have given freedom of media, and you are a witness here that how many channels are working day in and day out against the government. And if this is a specific which you have mentioned, I will look into it," the BBC quoted him as saying.

"We remain deeply concerned that BBC World News has been taken off-air by the Cable Association of Pakistan," a BBC spokesperson said.

"We welcome the prime minister's support of free speech and promise to investigate this ban. We call on the government to carry out an investigation rapidly and for BBC services to be restored in Pakistan. We condemn any action that threatens our editorial independence and prevents audiences from accessing our impartial international news service," the statement said.

Pakistani cable operators pulled the channel nationwide on November 29 amid a row over the "Secret Pakistan" documentary and amid anger over NATO air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The two-part BBC documentary "Secret Pakistan" shown last month accuses parts of Pakistan's intelligence service of complicity with Taliban militants.

Pakistan has aroused increasing criticism overseas and from human rights campaigners within the country over censorship. The row over the BBC saw people post links to the documentary on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Last month the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority was forced to row back from banning text messages containing any of nearly 1,700 words, many of which were seemingly innocuous, following outrage from users and campaigners.


Imran Mohammad | 9 years ago | Reply

Well, BBC's attitude viz a viz Pakistan is very bad. They are biased against Pakistan. Just look at their website for Asia. All news are from India ( even the non-nonsensical news) but they don't cover much from Pakistan except Taliban and war on terror etc. So, BBC needs to reflect on its own behavior too.

I agree banning a news channel is counter-productive.

John | 9 years ago | Reply

I had no idea about this documentary until the BBC was banned... Made me curious.. Once i watched it in youtube, i made sure i shared with hundreds of friends in facebook.... "If the cat closes its eyes, doesn't mean the world has become dark"... Grow up people...

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