Pakistan bans channels over shoe coverage
The Pakistani government has shut down two TV channels after they aired footage of a shoe-throwing attack on President Asif Ali Zardari during his recent visit to the UK, Press TV reported.
The transmission of Geo News and ARY News stations was blocked and copies of some Urdu and English dailies were burnt overnight in some parts of the country, a Press TV correspondent reported.
"On Saturday evening in Karachi, the staff of President Zardari called cable operators and ordered them to block news transmissions of Geo and ARY news all over Pakistan," personnel from the banned channels claimed.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Pakistani government to allow the news channels back on air.
The Pakistani president became the target of a shoe-throwing attack during a speech in Birmingham, England on Sunday as he was wrapping up his week-long diplomatic visit to France and Britain.
The visit drew widespread criticism from Pakistani nationals living aboard, who slammed the president for leaving Pakistan in the aftermath of the devastating floods which hit the country last week.
In defense of his visit, President Zardari told the Sunday Telegraph that "These meetings are planned months in advance, and my coming abroad has drawn more attention to them than I myself would have been able to draw."
The Pakistani president's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also defended his father's visit, saying it had helped raise money for flood victims.