Television

BBC takes issue with criticism from Afghan govt

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MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC has strongly taken issue with criticism from the Afghan Ministry of Defence of its news coverage in Afghanistan.

In a statement issued on 9 January 2008, the ministry had claimed that the coverage of the assault on Musa Qala in Helmand province was untrue and showed evidence of prejudiced reporting.

The ministry criticised a report that said civilians had been killed in the assault in the town, and two other reports in which the BBC was alleged to have said that members of the Afghan National Army had been looting in the town.

A BBC report did quote local people in Musa Qala, interviewed in the aftermath of the military operation to expel the Taleban, who said they had seen civilian casualties.

The BBC report stated, "This is denied by the government and the Ministry of Defence, and [the civilian casualties] were impossible to verify in the time we had on the ground."

The pubcaster says that no report alleging looting appeared on the BBC output. The BBC notes that the ministry in Kabul has been unable to produce any evidence to support its allegations.

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