Reporters Without Borders / Internet Freedom desk PAKISTAN
Twelve websites, including blogger.com, blocked for posting cartoons
Reporters Without Borders [along with zillions of bloggers - Z] is concerned about the decision of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), to block access to twelve websites which posted the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed which appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The PTA on 28 February ordered Internet Service Providers to block the website blogspot.com (or blogger.com), taking down thousands of weblogs hosted by this tool.
"We believe that the decision to ban a website should only ever be taken by a judge, at the end of a fair trial. It is moreover unacceptable that the order to block a site should go through the PTA, which while apparently aiming at one blog hosted by blogger.com, led to the filtering of all websites sharing the same domain name," said the organisation.
This order from the PTA comes around ten days after a petition calling on the government to ban the spread of "blasphemous content" through the Internet, was submitted to the Supreme Court. The court, on March 2nd, formally asked the government to take such a step. The bloggers network Global Voices, which revealed the case on its site (http://www.globalvoicesonline.org), has been posting information about campaigns launched by bloggers to condemn the filtering (http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2006/03/05/pakistan-blog-o-block/).
Local access providers have applied the PTA decision by blocking access to all sites whose URL incorporates blogspot.com, that is all sites hosted by this service. It is however technically possible to ban access solely to a blog causing a problem. Go to Reporters Without Borders' Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents, that gives practical advice about how get round Internet filtering.
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