Tuesday, March 21, 2006

No Internet Censorship in Pakistan

(Note: e blogging this petition by Pakistani Bloggers. By all means Rigt to expressions should be supported. Free the Bloggers Now!)

Support their Petition click or cut and paste link:

As the situation stands Pakistan internet exchange has blocked access to websites hosted by the largest and most famous weblog host blogger.com. The ban was first noticed by internet circles on the 27th of February 2006 and continues to be in effect till the filing of this petition on 7th march 2006. Almost all major internet service providers have been asked by the Govt. of Pakistan to observe this ban.

This ban has caused denial of access to more than a million weblogs hosted by blogger and citizens of Pakistan can no longer use the services of this web host.

The concerned authoritites are maintaining a tight lip over the issue. No official statement has been issued so far. The magnitude of this step taken by the authorities in the Pakistan internet exchange is not being realized. The only unofficial reason being sighted in their correspondence is that a few weblogs hosted by this host contain blasphemous caricatures of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

This in no way means that the rest of the million websites which contain no such offensive material rather most of them critisice these caricatures be blocked in order to prevent access to these few almost negligible number of unknown weblogs.

We, the Pakistani bloggers, stand by the Muslim ummah in condemning defamation of holy figures sacred to any world religion. But we feel that this condemnation should not cost us our right to free and unbiased access to information avenues. We also feel that certain values of common decency should at all times be observed by all human beings. This will ensure a fruitful and comprehensive dialogue between people from different backgrounds but a common, secure and prosperous future.

Weblogs form an integral part of cyberspace today. No talk of internet is complete without mentioning the due importance of weblogs. These weblogs have helped shape the cyber culture of the globe into a more humane and unmachenized entity. More often than not weblogs act as avenues of discussion and thought for the people belonging to different cultures. This exchange of ideas helps to promote feelings of love and harmony, thus discouraging hatred and prejudice.

Pakistani bloggers are an integral part of this weblogging community. They are the representatives and flag bearers of their national values and cultural thought. What they write on their weblogs helps build stronger bonds of understanding with the rest of the world.

Pakistani bloggers have never disappointed the world. Be it the deep monstrous waters of tsunami of 2004 or the deadly shocks of the South Asian earthquake of 2005. They have always stepped forward and gone beyond to fetch help and disseminate useful information. They are willing and ready to keep up this good work only if they are allowed to do so. Barring access of general public to a million websites of innocent and useful information is an infringement of human rights. We surely do not want to enact a cyber culture that is biased and far removed from reality of the world. This will only promote fundamentalism and extremist thoughts in the young intellectuals of the future.

Moreover we can only help continue our struggle of condemnation of any derogatory assaults on the holy figures of the world religions if we are allowed to voice our thoughts on the weblogs. Certainly no one wants to miss on this opportunity given a fair opportunity.

We therefore want a more comprehensive approach over internet censorship whereby a large number of innocent citizens are not affected. We want restored access to blogger domain in full as was possible before 27th February 2006. We want to the concerned authorities to take preventive steps so that in future such blunders are not committed. We ask for the support of the international community in helping us raise our civilized and reasonable voice over this issue of blatant censorship disregarding all values of decorum.

Created by moiz khan on March 6th, 2006 at 5:15 am AST

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