Friday, September 14, 2007

Laugh till you protest: how satire is at the forefront of TV revolution

by Declan Walsh from The Guardian

This year's events have sorely tested the limits of Gen Musharraf's liberalism. Faced with a barrage of criticism, he tried clumsy press control measures, but it was too late ... Now the government exerts influence on the stations with more subtle techniques. According to several sources, ministers threaten to hurt owners' other business interests, arm-twist cable operators, and issue "advice" to individual journalists. Many in the media admit self-censorship over subjects such as army finances, the war in Waziristan and the nationalist revolt in Baluchistan. On Monday intelligence officials badly beat up two journalists trying to cover Mr Sharif's deportation from Islamabad airport. A day later the government ordered stations to tone down criticism of Saudi Arabia, which helped spirit the former prime minister into exile. Most complied.

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