Is the blog ban back on?

Posted on August 28, 2006
Filed Under Economy & Development, Education, Politics, Science and Technology
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Adil Najam

This news is not yet confirmed so I want to be careful about how I phrase it. Careful, but not silent.

Reportedly, the official ban on blogspot.com blog sites that had originally been imposed after the Danish cartoon controversy and was reportedly lifted earlier this month, is now back on and blogspot sites in Pakistan have been blocked again.

One rumor in the emails floating around is that this may be related to the crisis unleashed by the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti. Another explanation is that the ban had never been really lifted but changed made by blogspot.com had briefly made the sites accessible again in Pakistan, and now the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has become wise of those changes and clamped down on them.

If the news is correct, people in Pakistan will again be unable to directly access any blog hosted by blogspot.com; which is the majority.

Readers and bloggers in Pakistan, can you please confirm if this is true?

Please tell me I am wrong. I hope that the PTA has the good sense not to go down this senseless path again.

I am clinging to the hope that the news may be wrong because the people who run the ‘Don’t Block the Blog’ campaign in Pakistan don’t have anything on this on their site yet, but that is probably because they want to be absolutely sure if this has actually happened. I want to be sure that it hasn’t.
The ingenuity of the Pakistani mind had, in fact, devised ways to circumvent the ban and had even created similar tools for bloggers in India when the Indian government took similar steps to ban blogs after the recent Mumbai bombings.

The idea of such a ban, for whatever reason, is absolutely absurd and futile – largely because it causes inconvenience and resentment but does not really change anything.

Once again, PTA, please prove this news wrong!

9 Comments on “Is the blog ban back on?”

  1. iFaqeer says:
    August 28th, 2006 10:44 pm

    Yes, Nasir, that’s what it means.

    There’s a group of people who have been following this issue and now identify themselves as the “Society Against Internet Censorship in Pakistan” and which, so far, has a Google Group.

    I know there are other groups in Pakistan that are organized around the social and political aspects of technology. I am hoping readers of this site can help identify those, so we can help build some sort of networking.

    Also, Adil didn’t mention the WikiPakistan page on the issue:

    http://pakistan.wikia.com/wiki/Blog_Crackdown

  2. saady says:
    August 28th, 2006 11:38 pm

    Yep, the blogspot ban is back up…

  3. ayesha says:
    August 28th, 2006 11:46 pm

    Apparently, it is back again and just when I was heaving a sigh of relief that life is simple again.

    Up until Sunday evening I was able to browse the blogspot domain – but now the ban seems to back up. :\

  4. Sohaib says:
    August 29th, 2006 1:11 am

    The guys at pkblogs.com have epitomized cool and noble acts. Just access your blogs using http://www.pkblogs.com/link. No hassles, no worries.

  5. August 29th, 2006 2:37 am

    Its sad but yes the Ban is rock solid back in Pakistan, I truly feel its about time someone stops making this issue a mockery as the PTA continues to do so every few months.

    Its been rumored that the PTA has recently acquired some hot monitoring equipment for implementation in Pakistan, would love to know if anyone has any clue or is it just a rumor?

    And yes we at DBTB were holding out on confirmation of the blockage, there is now indeed a post indicating its blocked status

  6. August 29th, 2006 5:46 am

    I am not at all suprised. Unfortunately, internationally the trend of blog ban is becoming even more common, so it is very unlikely that Pakistani authorities are going to go against the grain.

    The least we can do is to highlight this issue where ever possible…and please support the Dont Block The Blog campaign..

  7. August 29th, 2006 4:30 pm

    Yes, the block is back again. Damn these blog blockers, and a big thumbs up to pkblogs.com

  8. nurved says:
    August 30th, 2006 5:12 am

    Yup the block is back again, But I talked to a friend in Lahore he had a blog at blogspot he told me that it was accessible, but ofcourse I talked to him before Bugti Incident.

  9. March 7th, 2007 1:40 am

    [...] I have written about this issue before (here and here) and will probably write again. Even though it is clear that it will do little good. But, at least, bhaRRas tou niklay gi! [...]

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