FREE EXPRESSION

in Asian Cyberspace

Blogspot domain being blocked again in Pakistan

THREE days after the lifting of the wholesale ban on the Blogspot domain in Pakistan, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) appears to have resumed its blocking of the entire popular free blog hosting domain. Problems with accessing the said domain were reported on May 6, verified by dozens of Internet activists across the country.

“It just seems that this cat-and-mouse game was probably played out just to appease the world during the annual World Press Freedom Day which was held on May 3,” said Dr. Awab Alvi of the Don’t Block the Blog campaign. “Ironically it was the same day that the entire ban was lifted and we were actually patting each other on the back for a job well done. Who knew that three days later we were again to land flat on our face?”

Alvi said the “brief period of freedom followed by the censorship” has only made them even more determined to create change. “We will fight them to the nail and I assure you with good support from you and other international agencies we can indeed dream of knocking some common sense into the bureaucracy.”

Below is the Don’t Block the Blog statement:

6th May 2006 — The Don’t Block the Blog team (Dr. Awab Alvi and Omer Alvie) and Society Against Internet Censorship in Pakistan (formerly known as the Action Group Against Blogspot Ban in Pakistan – AGABBIP) regrets to inform the free world that the Government of Pakistan appears to have resumed the blocking of the entire Blogspot domain. Reports have come in from a number of sites around the country that the entire Blogspot domain is blocked in its entirety. Just recently only three days back, specifically on the 3rd of May, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had lifted the entire ban, allowing all Internet users unrestricted surfing to the 10 million websites hosted on the blogspot.com domain. It appears as if the three-day relief was just to appease the United Nations in its annual 3rd of May celebrations for the Freedom of Press.

The PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) had initially blocked access to the Blogspot domain on the 3rd of March 2006, due to a Supreme Court decision dated 2nd March 2006 instructing the PTA to ban 12 offending websites which highlighted the blasphemous cartoons on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In adherence to the Supreme Court ruling, all 12 sites were blocked including one that was hosted on the Blogspot domain. But rather than block the offending Blogspot website, the PTA blocked the entire domain which happens to be one of the most popular blog hosting domains hosting approximately upwards of ten million blogs globally.

We strongly oppose this blanket ban on any website, and ask the world to join hands to peacefully protest the censorship of the Internet.

May 8, 2006 - Posted by | Free Expression in Asia

3 Comments »

  1. This is indeed a sorry state of affairs. There was such a widespread sigh of relief when the ban was lifted but now, there’s no hope of being able to access blogspot. The biggest downside of this ban is that more and more bloggers are abandoning their blogs, and blog audiences are also suffering, which is very apparent from a sharp drop in comments. It’s not that easy to switch to blog hosting services. DBTB and AGABBIP are doing their best. Let’s hope their efforts bear fruit!

    Comment by Hafsa | May 16, 2006 | Reply

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    Comment by kamran | January 6, 2009 | Reply

  3. I agree with the author completely. This is truly a very sad state of affairs. I suspect the situation will fluctuate, as different groups continue to vie for power in the country, each having different beliefs about individual freedom of expression. Sadly, I think this problem will plague Pakistan in an on-and-off fashion for many years to come.

    Comment by Stewart Engelman Domain Sales | September 24, 2009 | Reply


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