Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Public Press Release - Please Distribute Widely


Monday 06 March 2006

Media Contact:

Dr. Awab Alvi

Cell: 92-333-2373493

Fax: 92-21-4313069



In a recent development, the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) has blocked access to thousands of blogs and websites being hosted on Google Inc's blogging hosting service - www.blogspot.com. PTA issued a notice announcing the ban of 12 offending websites which were promoting the blasphemous cartoons on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and one of the offending websites was being hosted on the domain www.blogspot.com which also hosts more than four million other blogs and websites.

In a very blatant misuse of the power entrusted with the PIE (Pakistan Internet Exchange), the network administrator there has placed a block on the entire domain blogspot.com, hence blocking accessibility to all internet users in Pakistan. It has been over a good week and no measures to correct this error have been implemented as yet, probably indicating some more deliberate attempts to censor the World Wide Web than an honest mistake.

Internet access is the key to the success of any business, and if the governing body of the Internet in Pakistan, the PIE, continue to create hurdles, this will ultimately discourage foreign investment. A prime example of such mismanagement can also be found in the not too distant past, where Pakistan was isolated from the World Wide Web last year for about 7-10 days and this resulted in catastrophic losses within the industry which ammounted to a few billion dollars. At the time, the root causes of these loses were attributed to the inadequacies of the PTA .

The Don't Block the Blog campaign ( help-pakistan.com/main/dont-block-the-blog/ ) and the Action Group Against Blogspot Ban in Pakistan ( groups.google.com/group/AGABBIP ) are protesting this outrageous ban on blogs and Internet censorship in Pakistan on the whole. We urge the print and electronic media to exert pressure upon the Government of Pakistan to first lift the ban on non-controversial blogspot.com websites and then push for the reform of the PTA before this incompetent authority wreaks havoc with a progressing Pakistan


Action Group Against Blogspot Ban In Pakistan (AGABBIP) is a group of like minded individuals based around the globe who truly condemn the recent Internet censorship policy in Pakistan and are striving on having the ban on Google's blogspot blogging service lifted by the Government of Pakistan. Our main aim is to regain free and fair access to Internet content which is a right of every individual irrespective of their race, religion, age or gender. while we expect any censorship to be within the limits of decency and decorum of the Pakistani culture. This means that we stand against any blasphemous caricatures yet this in no way should imply denying access to information to any individual or party and pushing for the rectification of censor ideologies so that similar problems can be avoided in the future.

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