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Pakistani editor facing de facto ban for his views

(CPJ/IFEX) - 22 August 2012 - The following is a CPJ blog post:

Is Pakistan's Ansar Abbasi being banned?
By Mazhar Abbas/CPJ Guest Blogger

Ansar Abbasi, editor of investigations for Pakistan's leading media group Jang, is apparently facing a de facto ban from his own employers. Other TV channels also report being told not to air his views. Abbasi has charged cable operators with spreading immoral, anti-Islamic messages through Indian movies and other popular culture broadcasts. In response, he says, they are censoring his views.

I have had my differences with Abbasi, but I consider him one of the best investigative reporters in the country. When he told me by telephone that cable operators had met with media owners, pressuring them to ban him for hurting their commercial interests, I believed him. Other sources confirmed his story. Anchors and directors, both in news and current affairs, told me that they have been told not to invite him as a guest or take his calls. Abbasi's column in the daily Jang newspaper did not appear last week, raising suspicion that it was due to outside pressure.

He is not the only one. The Dawn media network recently withdrew a show on the morality of cable content - hosted by Pakistan's most prominent anchor, Talat Hussain - within 10 minutes of broadcast, because of pressure from cable operators.

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