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Musharraf withdraws curbs on media

Pak president on Saturday agrees to withdraw curbs recently imposed on private TV channels that sparked wide criticism.

world Updated: Jun 09, 2007 19:31 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday agreed to withdraw curbs recently imposed on private television channels that sparked wide criticism at home and abroad, officials said.



He took the decision during a meeting with Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) representatives at his office in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, a top information ministry official said.



The official said PBA would develop and present a draft code of ethics for electronic media to the government within three days.



Musharrraf issued a decree on Monday giving the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) extra powers after the media criticised his suspension of the country's chief justice.



"The President has agreed to withdraw the PEMRA ordinance after assurances by PBA that they would submit a new code of ethics for the electronic media," said the official.



The operation of the decree had already been suspended by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz after a pandemonium in parliament on Wednesday with scuffles between slogan-chanting journalists and government officials. There were also several protests around the country earlier in the week.



The regulator was empowered to seal the premises or confiscate broadcasters' equipment and suspend their licences. The government earlier blocked transmissions of three private television stations.



Musharraf is facing the biggest crisis of his eight years in power since suspending Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on March 9.



Political violence in Karachi on May 12 left more than 40 people dead.

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