The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has temporarily blocked WordPress.com in Pakistan.
According to reports, PTA has asked all Internet Service Providers in Pakistan to block the site. WordPress.com, a blog hosting platform that hosts millions of blogs, is currently inaccessible on all major ISPs in the country.
It is still unclear why the site has been blocked.
ProPakistani.pk, quoting an unnamed source at PTA, has claimed that WordPress.com is blocked due to issues related to national security. It further said that the content which has caused the blockade of the site cannot be revealed due to sensitivity of the issue.
A recent study released by Freedom House in December last year noted that increasing attempts by the government to curb access to content online while seeking introduction of laws that limit civil liberties online, has landed Pakistan among the 10 worst countries for net freedom.
News courtesy: The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/857401/wordpress-temporarily-blocked-in-pakistan/
By Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson
Lahore, March 13: On the occasion of the international day of action against Internet censorship, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), have expressed deep concern over an attempt by the Ministry of Information Technology in Pakistan to further restrict freedom of expression, creativity and peaceful thought on the Internet, by projecting an extensive filtering system that will, if implemented, allow authorities to block up to 50 million “undesirable” URLs at the national level.
The National ICT R&D Fund of the Ministry of Information Technology released in February a call inviting academia/research institutions, companies, organizations to submit, by 16 March 2012, a proposal for the set-up of a filtering system. The call claims that Internet access in Pakistan is mostly unrestricted and unfiltered, so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and backbone providers in the country need a high-performance system to block millions of URLs containing “undesirable” content as notified by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
“Censorship is already very tight in Pakistan; 13,000 websites considered guilty of publishing adult and blasphemous content have already been blocked. On 14 November 2011, authorities requested mobile operators to censor the content of SMS and ban 1,600 words and expressions. Over the last summer, operators received the order to submit lists of Internet users trying to escape censorship, which corresponds to a system of surveillance”, said Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson.
Continue reading Concern about new bid to censor the Internet: HRCP, FIDH
By Jahanzaib Haque
….. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) must issue a list of the blocked websites with explanations for who blocked the site and for what reason, under which law, along with the length of the ban. No ban should be put in place without court approval and due discourse with independent entities set up to safeguard the rights of the citizens. Any ban on a site should be preceded by a prior warning sent to the webmaster, possibly including a two/three strike system. A notice of an implemented ban should be sent to the site owners and announced publicly and there should be a clearly established system for challenging the ban.
As yet, the PTA and the government have made no overtures to suggest they want to be held accountable or want to develop a system after consultation with the citizens they serve. Till they do, the ongoing and upcoming censorship of the internet in Pakistan must be fought tooth and nail.
Read more: The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.
PTA plans to push Pakistan to 1984 – by Jahanzaib Haque
A leaked confidential draft of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) allegedly delivered to the Lahore High Court (LHC) has suggested the implementation of a new draconian system which would greatly curtail internet freedom in the country, not unlike Big Brother from George Orwell’s ’1984′.
For more >>- Tribune
Drawing a line: Pakistan’s jihad against the Internet – By Urooj Zia
A couple of months ago, when self-styled ‘security analyst’ Zaid Hamid’s anti-India vitriol started getting out of hand, a group of Pakistanis got together on Facebook to condemn his hate speech and calls for war against ‘Hindu Zionists’. There were jokes about ‘Jihad-e-Facebook’ and ‘Ghazwa-e-YouTube’ because, like former dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, that’s where an overwhelming majority of Hamid’s supporters were anyway. No one could have thought at the point that an organ of the state would declare jihad against Facebook, but that is exactly what has happened. On 19 May, on a petition filed by a group calling itself the Islamic Lawyers Movement, the Lahore High Court ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block Facebook in response to the perceived blasphemy of a single page about ‘Draw … Day’.
Continue reading Pakistan’s jihad against the Internet