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Pak TV Channels Air US President's Message Denouncing Anti-Islam Film
241 days ago
(RTTNews) - The United States has paid $70,000 to buy television advertising slots in seven Pakistani TV channels denouncing a recent controversial film that triggered anti-U.S. protests across the Islamic world.
This was confirmed by U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Victoria Nuland at a routine briefing on Thursday.
The short message from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton includes an image of the Presidential seal to show that it is official, and it also includes a notice that the ads were paid for.
With subtitles in Urdu, it shows Obama saying in a White House speech, "Since our founding, the United States has been a nation of respect - that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." And then Clinton comes on, saying, "Let me state very clearly that the United States has absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its contents. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation."
Nuland said the public service announcement "was the best way to do it, in order to ensure we reached the largest number of Pakistanis - some 90 million."
She added that the idea behind the Presidential statement was to alleviate "concern in lots of bodies politic, including Pakistan, as to whether this (the video film) represented the views of the U.S. Government."
Explaining that the ads were part of Washington's public diplomacy efforts, Nuland said: "We ask all of our public diplomacy teams in all of our Embassies and most of our smaller missions overseas in circumstances like this to identify and use the most effective means of communicating within the unique environment in which they work.
"In the case of Pakistan, it is common and traditional to have to buy airtime on Pakistani TV for public service announcements. So in that environment, it was their recommendation that we buy some airtime to make sure that the Pakistani people would hear the President's messages and the Secretary's messages, so we did purchase some time, is my understanding, on Pakistani TV stations, all of the stations," Nuland said.
In Pakistan, the United States issue public service announcements "quite regularly," including after the 2005 earthquake.
Separately, at the beginning of a joint press conference with her Indonesian counterpart Rade Natalegawa in Washington on Thursday, Clinton said the United States government had "absolutely nothing to do with the film." Condemning in the strongest possible terms the violence that has erupted from the protests in several countries around the world, she termed the video that sparked these protests as "disgusting and reprehensible."
Several U.S. diplomatic missions around the world remain closed and security has been tightened in U.S. Embassies and Consulates across the Middle East as an Arabic-translated trailer of the film on YouTube triggered the Muslim outrage.
It is still unclear who produced the film "Innocence of Muslims," trailer of which surfaced on YouTube with Arabic sub-titles stirring Muslims into action in several cities that resulted in the killing of U.S. envoy to Libya Christopher Stevens and three of his colleagues last week.
Reports say that there is a possibility of Muslims, gathering in large numbers for Friday prayers, to hold demonstrations outside U.S. diplomatic missions to vent their anger over the incendiary anti-Islam film. Huge demonstrations were held near the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad on Thursday.
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