Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus Statement of Support for Pakistani Radio Mashaal

Public Service Broadcaster was Closed By Pakistani Authorities on January 19

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Co-Chairs of the Freedom of the Press Caucus, released the following statement:

“As co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press, we are deeply concerned by the recent decision of Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior to shut down Radio Mashaal, a public service broadcaster that provides alternatives to extremist propaganda in tribal regions along the Afghan border.

“Radio Mashaal’s correspondents provide in-depth international and local reporting in a country where journalists have been threatened, attacked, kidnapped, detained, and killed. Its closure is an unwelcome setback in the fight against extremism and strikes another blow against press freedom in a region consistently ranked among the most dangerous in the world for journalists. If Pakistan is serious about countering extremism, it must recognize that Radio Mashaal is an ally and that its ban sends the wrong message.”

Radio Mashaal is the Pashto-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a private news organization supported by Congress. The Press Freedom Caucus remains dedicated to supporting the work of news organizations like RFE/RL that are committed to spreading accurate and objective information in the places where such journalism is most difficult. We join with RFE/RL in its call for the safety of Radio Mashaal’s reporters and their families in Pakistan to be ensured, and that they be allowed to resume their journalistic activities without fear or delay.”