January 21, 2018
ISLAMABAD – Daily Times on Sunday condemned the Pakistan government’s move to shut down the US-funded Radio Mashaal and said: “the ongoing attack on Pakistan’s free media has just won another round.”
In an editorial headlined ‘Radio Mashaal – over and out,’ the paper said: “…we condemn the move. Indeed, we stand with global media watchdog CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) when it terms this a direct threat to media freedom; particularly when it comes to challenging established narratives including criticizing Pakistan’s military establishment.”
The paper commented that the interior ministry appears to have taken particular exception to what it describes as deliberate measures to portray the country as a hub of terrorism as well as a militant safe haven.
The editorial pointed out that Radio Mashaal was launched in 2010, in part, to counter the reach of Mullah Radio phenomenon in Swat.
“We are also mindful of the US hypocrisy in calling us out over the closure of Radio Mashaal when Washington has been active in the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar, which includes repeated calls to have Al Jazeera taken off the air. Nevertheless, this doesn’t absolve the Pakistani state from its responsibility in reclaiming the space hijacked by an extremist right-wing agenda. For there are those elements that remain unequivocally uninterested in being mainstreamed – settling for nothing more than the overthrow of the state itself.”
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