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US funding for Pakistani journalists raises questions of transparency

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Aaron Lobel, president of AAM, says his organization receives donations from a number of private funders, too, which it mainly spends on its programs on international affairs that run on Public Radio International in the United States.

The timing of AAM’s website disclosure – after contact from the Monitor – was a coincidence and the update had been planned for “several months,” he says. “We are a small organization with two web guys. They are really working hard on the new site – not just about the Pakistan project but on everything we do. Yes, it would have been better to have a lot of information [before]. We have been preparing this site for a long time to provide that information.”

“The content production is done first and foremost [by] Pakistanis who are here and work with their channels back home to produce content,” says Lobel.

Sometimes the Pakistani journalists and editors at home come up with stories. But AAM also holds production meetings where the group’s managing director, Aliya Salahuddin, suggests stories, says Lobel.

“I understand the fears that define the joint ventures that comprise the US-Pakistan relationship. [But] we are very proud we have a good relationship with Dunya and Express. It allows Pakistani journalists to cover the US with a Pakistani perspective. I haven't encountered any Pakistani channel that doesn't want to work with us,” he says, adding that AAM is hopeful of partnering with more Pakistani channels in the future.

Both reporters cover a wide variety of stories, some related to the US government and others not.

In her work for the English-language newspaper the Express Tribune, a respected national Pakistani daily that is a part of the Express Media Group, Huma Imtiaz regularly quotes unnamed US officials, at times from the State Department and at times from the Department of Defense.

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