Blogspot Blocked in Pakistan

The Muhammad cartoon controversy has claimed another victim. But this one is not a person but rather bloggers:

Pakistan telecom authorities have blocked several websites inviting people to draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, it has emerged.

Instructions were issued to internet service providers across Pakistan on 27 February to block about a dozen websites of various origins.

[…] Bloggers in Pakistan became first became aware of the ban on 28 February when they were unable to access a popular blog hosting site, Blogspot.

One of the blocked sites is hosted on Blogspot, which led to the blocking of all web journals hosted on the site.

The Pakistan bloggers found their blogs blocked, even though their blogs are not connected with the cartoons.

They say they have still been able to edit and update their blogs, but not able to read them.

BBC Urdu has a copy of the official letter banning about a dozen websites, one of which is hosted on Blogger’s free blog hosting at blogspot.com.

Pakistani bloggers are, of course, not happy. Here is the response Moiz Khan got from his ISP.

I have got the response from our Network administrator I.e All the subdomains of the blogspot hosted on the server 66.102.15.101 are blocked from the ITI on the strict instructions from the FIA because of the unathorized and anti Islamic contents so they have block the IP of the server rather then URL blocking. We are getting many other complains for the said IP and webhost. Our written complaint is already submitted to the higher authorities of ITI.

Don't block the blogTeeth Maestro has started a “Don’t block the blog!” campaign while a Google group called Action Group Against Blogspot Ban in Pakistan has also been started. Nouman has also been active and has found fame (and fortune?) by getting his post published on BBC Urdu. Danial suggests the following actions against the ban:

Via my Dad comes the news that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has gotten in the act though on the censorship side.

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the government to block internet sites displaying sacrilegious cartoons and called explanation from authorities concerned as to why these sites had not been blocked earlier.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar and Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan was hearing a petition of Dr Mohammad Imran Uppal.

It issued notices to Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan, Chairmen of the Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for March 13.

The federal government, Ministry of Telecommunication, Pemra, PTA, Yahoo Incorporation USA and I & I Co, the host of blasphemous site, have been cited as respondents in the petition.

[…] Makhdoom Ali Khan was also asked by the court to explore legal ways to block objectionable material on websites.

“We will not accept any excuse or any technical objection on this issue as it concerns sentiments of entire Muslim Ummah,” CJ observed adding all concerned authorities would have to appear in the court on next hearing with report of concrete measures for implementation of court’s order.

It seems like the court has no idea of the Internet and doesn’t know that blocking any website is not easy and it is often the case that lots of other sites are accidently blocked too (like all those blogs in this case).

Bypassing the censorship of blogspot in Pakistan is very easy. Here are some tips to defeat censors.

And finally, I don’t understand what is the point of blocking a dozen websites while the cartoons are available now on thousands of sites. If Pakistan wants to block every such site, it might have to block big names like Wikipedia, search engines like Google and Yahoo!, proxy servers and so on. In short, the whole Internet would have to be blocked.

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33 Comments.

  1. Auto-trackback from memigo.com

    BBC article was added to memigo. Thanks!
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  2. Don’t Block the Blog

    Neha, Shirazi, Zakintosh, Procrastination and Global Voices report on the the Freedom of Expression of Pakistani Bloggers that has been under attack by some. Initially intended to restrict availability of sites publishing the cartoons, but instead …

  3. It’s a flame that Islamic and Pakistani bloggers have started, and now they, themselves, are burning inside. Free flow of information is a double side sword. Sometimes in societies that they don’t know how to use it, e.g. Pakistan, Saudi or even Iran, it turns back and hurts you.

  4. Action is stupid and bloggers have also not behaved sensibly. I had tried to convey something indirectly but it was not understood. Today I clearly wrote the procedure that should be adopted. I cannot take up this issue because I am able to open every blog directly.

    Another shameful action is that website of Nawa-i-Waqt and Nation is blocked for the last over two months and cannot be opened by Google Translate. Anyhow I am opening it through other anonymizer.

  5. Blogspot was initially banned because of 12 websites that the Pakistani government deemed to be blasphemous. I am the editor of one of the banned websites, Plus Ultra: http://www.plusultrablog.com/ We have been doing an investigation over the last week into how the ban came about, how they picked those 12 sites to ban, and how the ban is spreading to include more and more websites. There is a very sinister reason why they chose those 12 websites in particular: the list was given to them by a group of Turkish cyberterrorists who have already been attacking those websites for the last month.

    Read all about it in the numerous articles we’ve posted about it online: http://www.plusultrablog.com/

    Last night the Pakistani government blocked the Washington Post website, because they ran a story about the blogspot ban, and representatives of Plus Ultra were in the comments section of the article, chatting with Pakistani bloggers, giving them information. The Pakistani government cut off the conversation quite suddenly by blocking the Washington Post website from Pakistani users.

    If you are Pakistani, and can use an anonymizer, you should come to http://www.plusultrablog.com/ and learn all about what your government is doing.

  6. Kianoush: A lot of people do not understand that freedom of speech does confer the same rights to all kinds of speech (with narrow exceptions).

    Dad: What exactly do you mean by “bloggers have not behaved sensibly”?

    Are Nawa-i-waqt and Nation blocked all over Pakistan or just by your ISP?

    Tracy: Interesting information. I was wondering why those 12 websites specifically and not the Danish (or other) papers that have published the original cartoons.

  7. that’s just lame.

  8. I have lots of comments rom people in Pakistan. Has th eban been lifted?

  9. Renee: Internet site blocking is somewhat common in Pakistan. Along with some porn sites, different sites critical of the government are sometimes banned, like South Asia Tribune was banned a couple of years ago (it has since folded).

    Aisha: It seems like even now some people can access blogspot while others cannot. I guess it depends on their ISP. Even for those who cannot directly access it, there are easy ways to do so.

  10. To access any blogspot blog in Pakistan please use:

    http://www.pkblogs.com/blogname
    e.g. http://www.pkblogs.com/yasirmemon

    This is just a proxy server, that will proxy the page from blogspot server and display it to the user. This service is completely ad-free, popups-free…

    I hope the govt. doesn’t block this website!!!

    Well till then, have fun!!

    http://www.pkblogs.com

  11. Use http://www.pkblogs.com to access Blogspot blogs… Excellent link browsing and usage… Must see

    e.g. http://www.pkblogs.com/lahore/ – > lahore.blogspot.com

  12. Naveed & Yasir: Good idea there, but wasn’t one comment enough?

  13. I recently found blogspot.com.pk to be hosted. I found it valuable to host my blog there so my blog is accessible within Pakistan. Try that one out.

  14. Khalid: blogspot.com.pk seems to be powered by WordPress, so the domain name sounds wrong.

  15. Pakistan fucking sucks!

  16. fuckin pakistani ministers why have u block the blogspot.com it is the eaiset way to make our voice count all over the world this is not the right step to block the blogger if u want to block block all the sites that support that act like google and yahoo which u cant do by this act u only help them to produse more cartoons

  17. This is possibly the most retarded thing I’ve ever read. Thankyou for the pkblogs link.

  18. This wan not the solution to block blogspot. Lets see when blogspot will become available in Pakistan again.

  19. No matter which community we belong, what religion and beliefs we have. As a human being every one should remember ONE basic thing that the limit of our freedom of expression stops at the point where the limit of annoyance(hurting)of other person starts. We should respect others and be respected.

  20. I think it was a good idea to block blogspot cause now we have our own pakistani blog site http://www.blogspot.com.pk

  21. Imran: What does having blogspot.com.pk have to do with blocking blogspot?

  22. I don’t think that blogs should be blocked but instead, they can at least try to filter them.

    http://pakstrategy.blogspot.com/2007/08/eu-lifts-ban-on-eleven-pia-planes.html

  23. hello i have this article that will give you enough knowledge on proxy and proxy sites that can give you access to some block sites.

    http://urlwhiz.com/xjni

    i also found this new website proxy network
    http://proxynetwork.i.ph/

  24. Steve: I have moved your comment here.

  25. I am unable to access blogspot sites in Pakistan from last three days

  26. this is completely stupid…
    blogger.com isnt blocked in Saudi Arabia and is blocked in Pakistan… totally retarded…

  27. Now a sindhi is going to be President of pakistan, now you can imagin a great pakistan, because we are the soul of pakistan. We will take businesses to great height where no punjabi has ever imagin. All the restriction on women will be abolished, blogging will be allowed, freedom of speach will be allowed. This president will be the greatest president of all time.
    DAMADUM MAST KALANDAR

  28. porn sites must also be blocked..

  29. our most of youngsters uses internet today for wrong things.

  30. above 2,3 persons what this gov will ban porn sites instead they are supporting be hayai.

  31. @bollywood songs
    If youngsters use the internet for wrong things, we should teach them about right and wrong instead of blocking access to such useful services like blogspot.

    BTW, blogspot is now accessible in Pakistan.

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