My blog is hosted on my own domain and server. I’m not using an online blogging service, therefore am not directly affected if something happens to blogspot.com, or any other blogging service for that matter. That and my recent vacation from blogging (and the Internet) were the cause for nothing being written about it earlier.
Now that I’m back and unable to read a lot of my friend’s blogs, I thought I should write about it. This is what Help-Pakistan.com had to say about the government ban placed a couple of months ago:
“Since 28th February (2006), Pakistani Bloggers’ Freedom of Speech has been under attack by some, if not all, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who has chosen to block all blogs hosted on the blogspot.com domain. Political pressure groups have protested to the government to block those web sites displaying the controversial cartoon images of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) that were hosted on the net. But instead of blocking specific sites, ISPs have simply blacklisted the entire domain, causing thousands of blogs to be inaccessible for viewing in Pakistan.”
The ban was temporarily lifted a few days ago, but now it seems to be back in place. Firstly, I just want to point out that ISPs themselves have little power over what they do and don’t allow. It is a few geniuses in the government who dictate the policy and expect everyone else to comply. Quite often, as is true in this case, the ISPs aren’t even consulted or involved. Quite often, an innocent site will fail to open and after lots of troubleshooting, it will be found to be blocked by the PTCL or the PTA and not the ISP.
I’m completely against this type of censorship itself, but right now I don’t want to get into the debate of moral implications of controlling the flow of information. Instead, I’d just like to say that it is amazing how these geniuses fail to grasp simple technical concepts. If a site really has to be blocked, why block the entire domain, network or IP address? This just causes legitimate information that may be hosted together with the controversial one, from being accessable while those determined enough will find a way to get to the blocked site.
On one hand, the government is aiming to project Pakistan as a moderate and open society while on the other, their minions are hard at work making such blunderous mistakes. When will this change?