Pakistan cable firms censor BBC over show

Pakistan’s cable operators have pulled the plug on the BBC World news TV channel, in a move it hopes will be a warning to other foreign broadcasters. Amid anger over a BBC documentary the cable companies describe as anti-Pakistan propaganda, the British broadcaster may now face government punitive action as well.

Pakistani cable subscribers who watch the BBC World news TV channel have had nothing to look at since Tuesday night but a graphic still shot of a satellite with a red “X” drawn over it. Accompanying text says “Service is currently not available, sorry for the inconvenience.”

In fact, it was Pakistani cable operators who caused the inconvenience, when they deliberately cut the BBC World News shortly before midnight local time. The public justification for the move was said to be a response to a documentary the British channel broadcast several weeks earlier, called “Secret Pakistan.”

A soundbite in the documentary says, “This series tells the hidden story of how, for a decade, Pakistan deceived America and the West – and was then found out.”

The two-part documentary, which the BBC commissioned from an independent third-party production company, builds a case that Pakistan’s military deliberately aided the Taliban and al-Qaida even as it assured Washington and the North Atlantic Treaty Oganization that it was an ally in the fight against the militants.

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