Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 11:55 UK

Pakistan drops media restrictions

Pakistan protest against restrictions on the media
Pakistan protest against restrictions on the media

Pakistan's new government has moved to withdraw restrictions on the media that were imposed by President Pervez Musharraf last year.

Minister Sherry Rahman has introduced a parliamentary bill proposing to end the ban on live broadcasts.

It also proposes to scrap punishments for journalists who "defame" the president, the government or the army.

Radio and TV news, and any criticism of the government, were banned when emergency rule was imposed in November.

Journalists have protested against the media restrictions.

The restrictions included jail terms and fines for those responsible for live programmes or any publication that the army and the government finds defamatory.

"The amendments will remove the entire apparatus of restrictions imposed on the press," Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters.

Ms Rahman said the media will be free to broadcast.

"We will put our own house in order and we will allow the press to broadcast not just live telecast but all that they feel fit to broadcast," she said.

President Musharraf had blocked live broadcasts by several private channels after their televised rallies in support of the chief justice and criticisms of the president and army.

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