Pakistan printer censors New York Times claims over Taliban

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 March, 2014, 4:06am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 March, 2014, 4:06am

A report in the International New York Times claiming Pakistan's government protected Taliban forces has been censored by the publisher's printing partner in that country, resulting in a blank space on the front page of its international edition.

The article, a 4,800-word excerpt from a forthcoming book by Times reporter Carlotta Gall to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt next month, appeared in the newspaper's magazine in the United States and was intended as a front-page article of the international edition on Saturday.

While the story appears on most copies of the international edition, it does not show up in papers distributed in Pakistan, about 9,000 copies, according to the publisher.

The Times' Pakistan printer, part of the Express Tribune newspaper group in that country, removed the article without its knowledge, according to Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy.

"We would never self-censor and this decision was made without our knowledge or agreement," she said.

"While we understand that our publishing partners are sometimes faced with local pressures, we regret any censorship of our journalism."

It is unclear if the Times will continue its partnership with Express Tribune.

Gall's reporting looks at the ties between Pakistan's main intelligence service, ISI, and the Taliban. Her article points to former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf as one of the Taliban's protectors who knew about Osama bin Laden's whereabouts in Afghanistan.

The missing story played out on Twitter as Gall herself posted a photo of the edition on her account with the note: "Breakfast in Islamabad".

The New York Times re-branded the International Herald Tribune as the International New York Times in October. The publisher has looked to establish a broader audience by appealing to readers outside the US.