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Pakistan blocks BBC World News over documentary

November 30, 2011 01:25 IST

Pakistan's cable television operators have blocked BBC World News, accusing the channel of broadcasting what they described as "anti-Pakistan" content in the wake of a cross-border NATO attack that killed 24 soldiers.

Some operators said the channel was blocked for airing the two-part documentary "Secret Pakistan", which highlighted links between the Inter-Services Intelligence agency and Taliban fighters.

While the documentary was broadcast in other parts of the world earlier, it was aired in Pakistan over the weekend.

Other foreign news broadcasters like Sky News, Fox News, CNN and Al-Jazeera were not affected by the move though operators said any channel found broadcasting "anti-Pakistan" content would be blocked.

BBC World News disappeared from cable networks in cities across the country this evening, shortly after the All Pakistan Cable Operators Association said all foreign news channels airing "anti-Pakistan" content would be barred.

The BBC said it was concerned by the move and called for the channel to be speedily reinstated.

"We condemn any action that threatens our editorial independence and prevents audiences from accessing our impartial international news service...We would urge that BBC World News and other international news services are reinstated as soon as possible," a BBC spokesperson said.

The cable operators called on the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority "to revoke the landing rights of foreign channels" if they are found to be "propagating" information against to the country.

Relations between Pakistan and the US and NATO have been hit hard by Saturday's air strike on two military border posts that killed 24 soldiers.

Pakistan responded to the attack by shutting down all NATO supply routes and asking the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, which is reportedly used by CIA-operated drones.

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