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Taliban partially lift ban on cable TV broadcasting in Swat valley

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders calls on the Pakistani authorities and Taliban leaders to ensure that cable TV operators in the Swat valley are able to resume broadcasting of both Pakistani and international TV stations without delay.

On 5 April 2009, Taliban leaders gave cable TV operators the green light to resume broadcasting "Islamic" and Pakistani TV stations, but foreign news and entertainment channels continue to be banned. "We have been given permission to resume cable distribution services but on certain conditions," a cable operator in the Swat valley city of Mingora told Reporters Without Borders after meeting Taliban leader Maulana Shah Dauran.

The Movement for the Enforcement of the Sharia banned TV broadcasting in the Swat valley in mid-2008. The office of one cable TV operator was even bombed by the Taliban.

Reporters Without Borders said: "The authorities have a duty to help the Swat valley population enjoy the same news media as the rest of the country's inhabitants. Failure to do this will bode ill for respect for the free flow of news and information in the valley, now subject to Islamic law."

The Taliban ban on TV news broadcasting by cable was condemned by Reporters Without Borders in a report on press freedom in the Swat valley released on 2 April:

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