Monday 15 July 2019
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The News - 4 days ago

FM blames Western media for country?s negative portrayal

LONDON: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has Pakistan suffers from negative characterisation in Western media which is not reflective of the reality of Pakistani media.Amid rising questions about the issue of freedom of speech and recent actions taken against news channels by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Qureshi told Defend Media Freedom conference in London that Pakistan s reality is overlooked by Western media. I urge you not to be swayed by negative characterisation in international media about Pakistan which tends to overlook Pakistan s accomplishments in media and other areas, said Qureshi. He was repeatedly asked by journalists about concerns surrounding allegations by media and journalist organisation that there are increasing restrictions on media and that Pemra has taken harsh actions against TV channels recently for airing speeches of Maryam Nawaz without censoring.Qureshi said media in Pakistan is completely free and that the era of media censorship is gone . He said that with the advent of social media it was not possible to stop flow of news media. He said that Pakistan is more free, diverse and vibrant today than before and better than many developing worlds, freer than many other developing countries.Qureshi denied that media was under restrictions. He said nearly 100 channels are free to air what they want but there are certain rules which must be followed by all. Qureshi said he always stood by democracy and freedoms and continued to support the same values. Qureshi said he held Geo News anchor Hamid Mir in high regard but said his interview with Asif Ali Zardari was not aired because the former president was interviewed when he was produced in the assembly from his cell and therefore he was not entitled to give his opinion.The foreign minister was heckled by a Canadian journalist at the end of his speech. The journalist alleged that Pakistani government got his Twitter account shut down. Qureshi replied to the journalist that he or his government had nothing to do with his account shut down and that Pakistan does not have any control over the policies of Twitter or any other social media giant. Qureshi told him that he understood his issue but he was wrongly blaming him.

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