CPJ seeks restoration of Radio Mashaal

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CPJ seeks restoration of Radio Mashaal

WASHINGTON: An international media advocacy group, the Committee to Protect Journalists urged Pakistan on Saturday to immediately reverse the order to close the Islamabad bureau of the US-funded Radio Mashaal.

Mashaal is the Pashto-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which is funded by the US Congress.

CPJ said the interior ministry issued an order on Friday, asking Radio Mashaal to immediately close its Islamabad office “in light of recommendations made by the country’s intelligence agency”.

According to RFE/RL, the ministry said in its closure order that Radio Mashaal’s programmes were “found against the interests of Pakistan and are in line with [a] hostile intelligence agency’s agenda”.

“The order to close Radio Mashaal’s office in Islamabad is a draconian move by Pakistani authorities and a direct threat to press freedom in the country,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia Programme Coordinator in Washington.