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Media watchdog condemns disruption in circulation of Dawn newspaper

AFP

ISLAMABAD -- The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) non-governmental organisation Friday (May 18) condemned a disruption in the distribution of Dawn, Pakistan's oldest newspaper.

Distribution of the country's leading English-language newspaper was restricted in much of the country after it published an interview suggesting that Pakistani militants were behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, according to RSF.

The comments by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, sparked an uproar at home and in India.

"The interview, which reportedly displeased the Pakistani military, appeared in the May 12 issue and the blocking began on May 15. ... distribution is being disrupted in most of Balochistan Province, in many cities in Sindh Province and in all military cantonments," said a statement from RSF.

The Press Council of Pakistan accused Dawn of publishing content that "may bring into contempt Pakistan or its people or tends to undermine its sovereignty or integrity as an independent country", the media watchdog said.

The disruption of Dawn's circulation is "unwarranted blocking" by a military "determined to maintain their grip on access to news and information in Pakistan", said RSF, adding, "We call on the authorities to stop interfering in the dissemination of independent media."

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