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Pakistan’s government has a media regulation group whose job is to police the airwaves for hate speech. But the group, which goes by its acronym PEMRA, has opened few investigations in its 10-year history — and none in defense of religious minorities. Critics accuse the agency of bowing to popular media figures like Liaquat, rather than doing the job it was created to do.

Pakistani Televangelist Is Back On Air, Raising Fears : NPR – worries in Pakistan as a televangelist fired for stoking religious hatred against Ahmadis is rehired by his old channel…

Pakistan’s government has a media regulation group whose job is to police the airwaves for hate speech. But the group, which goes by its acronym PEMRA, has opened few investigations in its 10-year history — and none in defense of religious minorities. Critics accuse the agency of bowing to popular media figures like Liaquat, rather than doing the job it was created to do.

Pakistani Televangelist Is Back On Air, Raising Fears : NPR – worries in Pakistan as a televangelist fired for stoking religious hatred against Ahmadis is rehired by his old channel…

We strongly support freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas. Freedom to seek and know the truth is a fundamental human right,26 and freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy. “Man, provided he respects the moral order and the common interest, is entitled to seek after truth, express and make known his opinions…he ought to be truthfully informed about matters of public interest”. And public opinion, “an essential expression of human nature organized in society,” absolutely requires “freedom to express ideas and attitudes”.

In light of these requirements of the common good, we deplore attempts by public authorities to block access to information—on the Internet or in other media of social communication—because they find it threatening or embarrassing to them, to manipulate the public by propaganda and disinformation, or to impede legitimate freedom of expression and opinion. Authoritarian regimes are by far the worst offenders in this regard; but the problem also exists in liberal democracies, where access to media for political expression often depends on wealth, and politicians and their advisors violate truthfulness and fairness by misrepresenting opponents and shrinking issues to sound-bite dimensions.

13. In this new environment, journalism is undergoing profound changes. The combination of new technologies and globalization has “increased the powers of the media, but has also made them more liable to ideological and commercial pressures”, and this is true of journalism as well.

The Internet is a highly effective instrument for bringing news and information rapidly to people. But the economic competitiveness and round-the-clock nature of Internet journalism also contribute to sensationalism and rumor-mongering, to a merging of news, advertising, and entertainment, and to an apparent decline in serious reporting and commentary. Honest journalism is essential to the common good of nations and the international community. Problems now visible in the practice of journalism on the Internet call for speedy correcting by journalists themselves.

2002 statement by the Vatican on Ethics in Internet

[Cross-posted from the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

You’ll recall that a few months back that Queen Rania of Jordan launched a YouTube channel aimed at “breaking down stereotypes about the Arab and Muslim worlds and to bridging the East-West divide.” Three million views and 43,000 messages later, YouTube has awarded her its inaugural Visionary Award.

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UPDATE – 26 Nov 2008:
Global Voices has posted some blogger reactions here.