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US to use TV ads to stem anti-Islam film protests

September 21, 2012 14:18 IST

As anger in the Muslim world over anti-Islam film continued to smolder, the United States administration has turned to social media and television ads to try to stem global protest.

The Obama Administration's campaign was launched in Pakistan by the US embassy in which President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton figure.

In the 30-second TV advertisement broadcast across seven networks, both Obama and Clinton explained American position in a bid to disassociate the US Administration from the provocative film.

The State Department bought air time worth over USD 70,000 on Pakistani television channels to run the advertisement and spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, "We bought some air time to make sure that the Pakistani people would hear the President's messages."

The US administration has also compiled a separate Youtube film showing ordinary Americans condemning the controversial film 'Innocence of Muslims'.

Nuland said that the TV ads had been used in other countries in the past and were also adopted in 2005 in Pakistan in the wake of devastating earthquake. But she did not mention that whether the ad and the film would be shown in other nations.

Some Pakistani outlets carried it free of charge, but others used it as a paid public service announcement, and added their own required labeling that the video was "paid content".

"We are going to have to measure the metrics of effectiveness across this region on our public diplomacy," Nualnd said.

"But that's something that we'll have to look at is what means did we use to make sure that publics around the world understood where the U  S Government stands, and were those effective, and that kind of thing," she said.

Meanwhile, the US is monitoring the situation in Pakistan, Nuland said and praised the efforts of Pakistani authorities to limit violence.

"Cooperation with the Pakistanis on security has been good, and we will continue to work closely with Pakistani authorities to ensure the safety of our facilities and personnel," Nuland said.

"My understanding is that the Pakistani services did a good job keeping them (protesters) pushed back from the diplomatic enclave, that they didn't get very close," she added.

In Pakistan, the ad described as a "message from the President of the US Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton" bore the caption "Paid content".

The ad features Obama saying: "Since our founding, the US has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others."

Clinton says: "Let me state very clearly... that the US government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation."

Their remarks are subtitled in Urdu. Similar advertisements were also aired on several FM radio channels.

The ads went on air as the State Department asked US citizens to avoid travelling to Pakistan in view of a series of anti-America protests in the country.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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