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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Pakistan media regulator bans airing of interview with Taliban spokesman

Pakistan’s broadcast media regulator has banned the broadcast of a television interview of former Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who recently surrendered to the army.

world Updated: Apr 27, 2017 23:26 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
A screenshot of the LinkedIn profile of former Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.
A screenshot of the LinkedIn profile of former Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan. (Twitter)

Pakistan's broadcast media regulator on Thursday imposed a ban on the broadcast of interviews of terrorists hours after Geo News channel announced it would air an interview with former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.

The notification of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) was shared on the authority's Twitter account.

Geo News had said it would air the interview with the former Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman, who recently surrendered to the military, on Thursday night. On Wednesday, the military’s media arm released what it described as a “confessional” video by Ehsan in which he was seen accusing the spy agencies of Afghanistan and India of backing the Taliban.

According to the notification, a terrorist cannot be allowed to use any channel as a platform for an interview as it would undermine the efforts of the Pakistan Army soldiers, who have fought against militants and laid down their lives for the country.

It further said that airing an interview “of a known militant” would be “heart-wrenching and deeply disturbing” for the colleagues, family, and friends who have lost their loved ones in acts of terrorism. 

The video of Ehsan released by the military's media department, the Inter-Services Public Relations, on Wednesday was heavily edited and analysts said the government is uncomfortable with any unedited interview. Many Pakistanis debated in cyberspace whether the airing of an interview with Ehsan would violate the National Action Plan, Pakistan’s programme to counter terrorism.

First Published: Apr 27, 2017 18:51 IST

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