US mission to correct errors in Pak media

Some reports are deemed "a paranoid fabrication," such as the claim that all Pakistanis are stripped naked in the US airports.
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Updated on Jun 28, 2010 12:52 AM IST
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None | ByKarin Brulliard, The Washington Post, Islamabad

Some reports are deemed "a paranoid fabrication," such as the claim that all Pakistanis are stripped naked in the US airports. Others are "false and malicious," such as the one about the Americans moving Pakistani Taliban leaders to Afghanistan to prepare them for a battle against Pakistan's army.

So says the US Embassy here, which for nearly eight months has issued statements countering every major error about American foreign policy that it finds in Pakistan's boisterous media.

It's a herculean task that embassy officials say has been undertaken by no other the US mission in the world — because nowhere else, those officials say, does the US policy face such disdain and misrepresentation.

The statements — called Corrections for the Record — are issued a handful of times a month. Whether they are effective is hard to measure, though embassy officials express confidence.

Much is at stake. The Obama administration views Pakistan as a crucial partner in its fight against Islamist terrorism, and it has spent the past year trying to convince Pakistanis that the United States is a steadfast, well-intentioned ally.

So far the public has not been swayed: A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 17 per cent of Pakistanis view the US favourably, and only 8 per cent expressed faith in President Obama — his lowest rating in 22 countries surveyed.

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