Pakistan orders closure of RFE/RL Radio Mashaal bureau

Posted: 20 Jan 2018

"Pakistani authorities on Friday shut down the operations of Radio Mashaal, part of the US-funded Radio Free Europe network, and closed its office in Islamabad after the ISI spy agency concluded its programmes were against the country’s interests."

— Kim Andrew Elliott (@kaedotcom) January 19, 2018

There are 4 separate US radio stations targeting that region:
1. R. Mashaal (as below) in Pashto
2. R. Azadi in Pashto/Dari
3. R. Deewa in Pashto
4. R. Ashna in Pashto/Dari
1&2 are run by RFE, 3&4 are run by VOA – so competing against each other for funding, staff and audiences.

— Chris Greenway (@ChrisGreenwayUK) January 19, 2018

Pakistan's Interior Ministry "said Radio Mashaal programming presented Pakistan as a 'failed state in terms of providing security to its people,' in particular minorities and ethnic Pashtuns."

— Kim Andrew Elliott (@kaedotcom) January 19, 2018

"While Mashaal continues to use radio to reach its audience, it also counts more than 1.6 million Facebook fans, and registered 81 million video views on Facebook and 10 million views on YouTube in 2017."

— Kim Andrew Elliott (@kaedotcom) January 19, 2018

"A State Department spokesperson told VOA that U.S. officials are closely monitoring the situation, and the United States remains a supporter of media freedom around the world."

— Kim Andrew Elliott (@kaedotcom) January 19, 2018

"Pakistani officials said that the decision to close Radio Mashaal was not a response to Trump but the result of longstanding concerns about its content."

— Kim Andrew Elliott (@kaedotcom) January 19, 2018

CPJ: "Radio Mashaal is an important source of information in Pakistan and should be allowed to continue operating in the country without further harassment from the government."

— Kim Andrew Elliott (@kaedotcom) January 20, 2018

Copyright 2006–2019 Kim Andrew Elliott.