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Agencies
July 11, 2019

Global media watchdog slates curbs on media

National

A
Agencies
July 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A global media watchdog has slammed Pakistani authorities over the removal of three television channels from the country´s airwaves, saying the move was "indicative of disturbing dictatorial tendencies."

The statement from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) comes days after AbbTakk TV, 24 News, and Capital TV all had their broadcasts cut. Pakistani authorities say the channels were unavailable due to "technical issues", but RSF described the outage as an act of "brazen censorship".

"Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that three Pakistani TV news channels have been suspended from cable networks at the behest of the authorities in reprisal for broadcasting an opposition leader´s news conference," the watchdog said late Tuesday.

A senior official with knowledge of the case confirmed the move against the channels, saying the broadcasters had violated Pakistan´s "code of conduct." The Reporters Without Borders also said that it had visited Saudi Arabia to seek freedom for 30 jailed journalists amid sustained Western criticism of Riyadh.

The RSF, had not publicised its April visit, which it called unprecedented, in hopes that the authorities would pardon the detainees during the holy month of Ramazan. Secretary-General Christophe Deloire led the delegation, which met Saudi officials including the ministers of justice and media, the minister of state for foreign affairs, the public prosecutor and the head of the state-backed human rights commission. The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the visit and the status of the detainees.