Pakistan blocks cartoon blogs?

Pakistani government has blocked several web sites and blogs that have published blasphemous cartoons about Prophet Muhammad (saw).

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

The ban comes amid protests in several Muslim countries against the cartoons, first published in Denmark last year.

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 . 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.
Many are using anonymizers – a service which allows people to surf sites without being identified – to access their sites, while the US blogging community has sent out suggestions for ways in which Blogspot can be accessed.

The BBC’s Aamer Ahmed Khan in Karachi says the blocking is unlikely to turn into a major freedom of expression issue in Pakistan as there seems to be a consensus against allowing such freedom to extend to irreverent treatment of religious figures.

Pakistani bloggers agree the blocking of Blogspot cannot be intentional, but are hoping the authorities realise the problem soon and rectify it, he said.

There are many ways of blocking specific sites without letting it affect the entire hosting facility, bloggers say.

According to Spider Blog (proxy access), the block seems to be at the DNS level only – typing the IP address of blogger takes you there directly: http://66.102.15.100

Alternates to access Blogspot:

– Anonymizer: http://anon.free.anonymizer.com/http://blogname.blogspot.com (where blogname is the name of blog you want to access)

– Google Translate: http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=en|en&u=http://blogname.blogspot.com


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