Pakistani television channels aired advertisements Thursday by the U.S. State Department with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning an anti-Islamic video that set off a firestorm of emotions among the Muslims across the world.
The 30-second U.S. announcement, subtitled in Urdu, shows Obama saying the U.S. rejects “all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” Clinton is shown saying, “the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation,” Bloomberg reported.
The advertisements end with the seal of the American Embassy in Pakistani capital Islamabad.
In an email, the embassy in Islamabad has sent out a link to the video of ordinary Americans condemning the film “Innocence of Muslims,” a low-budget U.S. production that portrays Prophet Mohamed as a fraudster, womanizer and a child molester, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said.
At least 30 people in seven countries have died in violence linked to the movie, including the American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens who died in a rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Protests in Islamabad continued Thursday involving thousands of people, but with limited violence. More than 2,000 people tried to reach the U.S. Embassy inside a guarded enclave that houses embassies and government offices, the Associated Press reported.
The U.S. consulates in Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar were closed Thursday while the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad remained open.
Speaking to reporters on the U.S. government paying for the advertisements disavowing the video, Nuland said: “In the case of Pakistan, it is common and traditional to have to buy airtime on Pakistani TV for public service announcements. So in that environment, it was their recommendation that we buy some airtime to make sure that the Pakistani people would heard the President’s messages and the Secretary’s messages, so we did purchase some time, is my understanding, on Pakistani TV stations, all of the stations.”
Nuland said the U.S. State Department paid $70,000 for airtime in seven stations.
“This was a short message; it includes the U.S. seal to make it clear that it is official, and it also includes a notice that the ads were paid,” Nuland said.
Several nations, including Pakistan, have censored YouTube to prevent people from watching an excerpt from the movie posted on the video-sharing site.