Monday, July 24, 2006

Pakistan Closes More Illegal FM Radio Stations

Since the beginning of 2006, the Pakistan Government and its agencies have being closing down illegal FM Radio stations.

The closures have mainly been in tribal and border areas but also stations run by the religious schools known as maddrassas.

The Islamabad government says it has to stop the spread of religious extremism and anti-state sentiments, notably among Pashtun tribes near the Afghan border.

Local press reports quote 156 FM stations closed in the past six months.

Some 41 were closed by the broadcasting watchdog, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulating Authority (PEMRA) in January. Then the target was mainly FM stations in the urban areas that broadcast religious programs in the morning and evening and gained popularity among women listeners.

PEMRA remit does not include the border areas so the task of taking action is left to local law enforcement agencies.

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