Media pushed out of Abbottabad

Pakistan bans international media from entering the area around Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad.

    It began, as these things often do, with a rumor. The Immigration agency of Pakistan's government had sent representatives to each one of the hotels in Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was killed,  demanding to know what foreign journalists were staying at each one. Then orders were issued to hotel managers that certain journalists be ordered to leave. 

    Those rumors were quickly confirmed. 

    Reporters, cameramen, producers  from the all over the world found themselves packing their bags, as more orders came down from the government regarding live broadcasts, satellite uplinks.

    Things have also been tense between the army and journalists here for around 24 hours now. 

    The army, at least those who stopped us, say they that have given us access to the site, that we have been able to do our jobs and that now enough is enough. The Bin Laden compound has been shut off.  You cannot get anywhere near it. 

    Unsurprising then, the Pakistani Army are furious that such an operation was mounted on its soil. Just imagine how the US would feel if a Pakistani special forces team struck Austin, Texas?

    None of this makes for an easy environment in which to piece together information. As journalists we all have one simple job to do. To bear witness to events and to report what we see. 

    That gets complicated once you factor in commercial pressures, editorial judgments, and a million other uncontrollable factors.

    It's those uncontrollable factors that quite often control exactly what you can do. In Abbottabad right now the uncontrollable factor of crackdown has begun. The governments made it clear they want Journalists out of Abbotabad. 

    So far it has done things in a formal manner. It's issued notices using opaque legal language. But even as media organisations debate what to do the journalists, and I include myself in this, agree that the story needs telling.

    Piecing it together from Abbotabad right now makes sense.

    Bin Ladens house is the most visible sign of a tale that encompasses the White House, Islamabad, Kabul, the CIA, The ISI, the Pakistani Army and the Taliban. All interwoven with each other, all dependent on each other. It will take years for the truth to be told.

    While Pakistan's prime minister Just 3 days ago stood in front of an audience in Paris, France and declared Pakistan had a free media a crackdown has begun in Pakistan on foreign media.

    And with each crackdown, each delaying tactic, the full story of Bin Laden's death and the relationship between the US and Pakistan remains untold. 

    The governments of Pakistan and America are the two governments with the most to lose if and when the truth will out. 

    Unsurprising then that neither of those governments wants to help each other and both will not help journalists do what they do.


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