Today's edition of The International New York Times was stripped of its cover story in Pakistan. Instead of seeing a lengthy report on "What Pakistan knew about bin Laden," readers were greeted with an enormous section of white space that dominates the paper's front page.
Elsewhere in the world, the International New York Times published a story by Carlotta Gall that closely examines links between Pakistan and Osama bin Laden. Gall's report traces the common accusation that the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence unit, may have knowingly provided shelter for the al Qaeda leader before he was killed during a United States raid in 2011. Instead of that story, we're left with one of the most visually arresting examples of censorship in years.
Why is 2/3rds of the International New York Times front page in Pakistan blank today? pic.twitter.com/MgfYQtvs4I— sherryrehman (@sherryrehman) March 22, 2014
This is what the front page of the International New York Times should have looked like today: #Pakistan #OBL #PT pic.twitter.com/WuXiNXRtwt— Qasim Nauman (@QasimNauman) March 22, 2014
Update: The censorship was apparently carried out by a local paper, The Express Tribune, which has a distribution agreement with The International New York Times. About 9,000 copies of the paper were printed with the blank front page, The New York Times reports.
The Express Tribune has previously been targeted by an extremist group in the area and may have avoided publishing the al Qaeda / Pakistan story to avoid being further attacks. "While we understand that our publishing partners are sometimes faced with local pressures, we regret any censorship of our journalism," a Times spokesperson said.