WASHINGTON, Sept 20 The United States has paid
Pakistani television stations to run advertisements featuring
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
hoping to soothe public opinion in a country hit by protests
against an anti-Islam movie made in California, the State
Department said on Thursday.
The U.S. embassy in Islamabad spent about $70,000 to run the
announcement, which features clips of Obama and Clinton
underscoring U.S. respect for religion and declaring the U.S.
government had nothing to do with the movie, it said.
"In order to ensure we reached the largest number of
Pakistanis, some 90 million as I understand it in this case with
these spots, it was the judgment that this was the best way to
do it," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news
The U.S. announcement aired as Washington warned Americans
to avoid non-essential travel to Pakistan, one of the mostly
Muslim countries hit by a wave of anti-American demonstrations.
In Libya, a deadly assault last week killed the U.S. ambassador
and three other Americans.
The protests, which were sparked by an Internet video that
mocked the Prophet Mohammad and swept through Yemen, Egypt and
other countries, also prompted the U.S. government to withdraw
non-essential personnel in Tunisia and Sudan.
In Pakistan, protesters have demonstrated in more than a
Counter-terrorism analysts for the New York Police
Department warned in a paper circulated on Thursday that the
anti-U.S. and anti-Western protests would continue to spread,
fueled most recently by a French magazine's publication of
cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad.
The cartoons in France's Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly have
provoked relatively little street anger thus far, although about
100 Iranians demonstrated outside the French embassy in Tehran.
Nuland said the decision to buy the television ads,
identified as paid public service announcements, was not unusual
in countries where this is "the norm for getting your message
"I think the sense was that this particular aspect of the
president and the secretary's message needed to be heard by more
Pakistanis than had heard it, and that this was an effective way
to get that message across," she said.
She said it would take time to measure the effectiveness of
the ads in Pakistan, where on Thursday huge crowds again
gathered to protest against the video.