Despite Prominence of Coverage, Pakistan Doesn't Merit News Bureaus

When former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, the only American TV networks to have full-time employees in Pakistan to call on were ABC and CNN. Other networks were forced to rely on stringers, freelance reporters on retainer with news agencies, until they could get their own reporters to Pakistan. "Despite the continuing war in Afghanistan and the unrest in Pakistan, no United States television network other than CNN maintains a permanent bureau in either country. This is partly because it is so difficult and dangerous to keep employees in volatile parts of the world, but it is also a reflection of budget cutbacks, which led the networks to close many foreign bureaus in the 1990s." In order to cover the Iraq War, most news agencies have used the bulk of their international budgets for that purpose for almost five years. Andrew Tyndall publishes the Tyndall Report, "a newsletter that tracks evening newscasts. His data indicates that after Iraq, the biggest overseas stories on network news in 2007 emanated from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Among the broadcast networks, 'they don't have permanent bureaus in any of them,' he said."