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Musharraf Imposes Tough Curbs on Pakistani Media


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf imposed tough curbs on the media Saturday as part of the state of emergency.

According to a new press ordinance, newspapers and television channels are banned from publishing or broadcasting pictures of suicide bombers or their victims, or statements by Islamic militants. The order also outlaws any material that defames, ridicules or disrespects the head of state, members of the armed forces or the executive, judicial and legislative organs of the state.

Many communication lines were cut and private television broadcasts were blacked out in parts of the country.

Police in Islamabad reportedly raided the offices of the private Aaj television channel Sunday and attempted to confiscate broadcasting equipment.

One of the editors of Pakistan's main independent GEO TV said authorities cut off telephone lines to the station and also began jamming its mobile phones.

Reporters without Borders criticized the new regulation. Although Pakistan's government is confronted by a number of challenges, including violence by Islamic militants, the Paris-based press-freedom group says that does not justify imposing either a state of emergency or such sharp restrictions on the country's news media.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.