Qureshi challenged about media freedoms at London conference


LONDON -- Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Thursday (July 11) said there was "no question of gagging" journalists after being challenged about Pakistan's record at a media freedom conference in London.

Qureshi was questioned about the recent decision to take three Pakistani television channels off air, the arrest of journalists and deepening concerns about censorship.

"There is no question of gagging or controlling media," he told the conference co-hosted by Britain and Canada.

"With the new social media ... even if you want to gag, you can gag nothing."

Pakistan routinely ranks among the world's most dangerous countries for media workers. Since 1992, 61 journalists have been killed there, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Reporters there have come under pressure, sometimes violent, from both the government and militants.

Global watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) this week warned that cutting off AbbTakk TV, 24 News, and Capital TV was "indicative of disturbing dictatorial tendencies".

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