US warns Pakistan on press intimidation

The US says it would be "a mistake" by Pak govt to restrict press freedom.

Last Updated: Aug 12, 2010, 11:07 AM IST

Washington: The United States has said it would be "a mistake" by the civilian government of Pakistan to follow the footsteps of the previous Musharraf regime in trying to restrict the press freedom in the country.

"We certainly think it would be a mistake for the Pakistani civilian government to follow the press intimidation that was present during its predecessor," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said when asked about the recent developments in Pakistan in this regard.

According to a CNN news report, two TV stations -- Geo TV and ARY stations - were shut down in parts of Sindh province, including Karachi after the news channels` reports angered supporters of the Pakistani President.

Azher Abbas, Geo`s managing director, said its signals were blocked at midnight Saturday after the station broadcast news reports that a pair of shoes had allegedly been hurled at President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Birmingham, England, the CNN said.

Crowley, however, was quick to take at the Pakistani press, a section of which has been consistently raising anti-US passion inside Pakistan as was reflected during the Kerry-Lugar Bill, which gives it USD 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. We always have taken issues with particular stories that may or may not have a basis in fact, but we recognise that the dynamism that we do see in Pakistani society that a vibrant and free press contributes significantly to that," he said.

PTI