Dubai should end shutdown of Pakistani news channels: HRW

November 20th, 2007 - 6:28 pm ICT by admin  

New York, Nov.20 (ANI): The Dubai government should allow Geo Television and other Pakistani news channels, which broadcast from Dubai and function as Pakistan’s most independent and respected television stations, to resume operations immediately, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
On November 17, the Dubai authorities summarily gave Geo News and other television channels two hours to halt broadcasting.
Both channels, which are registered in Dubai, have been off the air in Pakistan since November 3, when cable operators were instructed to end transmissions. But the channels had continued to broadcast on satellite and the Internet until they were shut down on Saturday by the Dubai authorities.
According to The News, Human Rights Watch welcomed the show of support for media freedom by the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, when she visited the Geo offices in Karachi on Monday. The organization urged the Bush administration to press the authorities in Dubai to reverse their decision to close Geo and the other channels.
“The US should publicly call on its close ally in Dubai to lift the bans. Dubai’s government should refuse to be an accomplice to assault on free speech, said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch..”
Human Rights Watch urged the Dubai authorities to recognize the damage that the ban is causing to the emirate’s reputation as a neutral commercial and media center in the region.
The authorities should unconditionally and immediately reverse the decision to ban the Transmissions of Geo and other channels, Human Rights Watch said.
“By making itself a party to gag the Pakistani media, Dubai is damaging its own international reputation,” said Adams. “This move sets an appalling precedent and raises serious questions about Dubai’s viability as a regional hub for the international media.”
“The world should not stand by as authorities in Pakistan engage in the systematic destruction of free speech, first inside Pakistan and now outside the country as well,” said Adams. (ANI)

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