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Posts tagged with: Censorship

Pakistan’s Political Future: An Alternative Perspective – Imran Khan at the Asia Society

Imran KhanAn event is being held by the Asia Society where Imran Khan will shed light on the present political siltation in Pakistan, as usual a live webcast will be available for those who may want to participate and once the session is completed I will post the MP3 file here on the blog for others to listen. Other previous Asia Society discussion are available here, here, here & here The invitation issued by Asia Society for this town hall meeting is as follows

Please join us for a unique opportunity to interact with Mr. Imran Khan, a former cricket legend from Pakistan and now a vociferous political opponent of President Musharraf. Mr. Khan is Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (Movement for Justice). He will share his insights about the rapidly evolving political scene in Pakistan and offer practical solutions to break the ongoing political impasse to facilitate the transition to democratic governance. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is boycotting the upcoming legislative election scheduled for February 18 and Mr. Khan has called for the resignation of President Musharraf. The discussion will be moderated by Kiran Khalid, Freelance Broadcast Journalist and documentary filmmaker of “We Are Not Free” about media censorship in Pakistan.
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RSF: Government lifts cable ban on Geo TV but makes it remove some programmes

Reporters Without Borders issues a press statement

Reporters Without Borders hails the lifting of a government ban on cable TV distribution of the privately-owned TV channel Geo News but deplores the fact that President Pervez Musharraf made it conditional on the suppression of some its programmes.

“Geo News has made major contribution to improving Pakistanis’ access to independent news since 2002 and should never have been banned,” the press freedom organisation said. “The ban, which lasted more than 10 weeks, was aimed at silencing outspoken reporters and commentators and investigative reports that were often damning for the authorities.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “It is regrettable that the government insisted on the withdrawal of certain programmes. This constitutes yet further evidence that censorship is unfortunately still the rule just a few weeks before the parliamentary elections scheduled for 18 February.”
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RSF Questions Cyber Crime Law in Pakistan

Reporters Sans FrontiersReporters Without Borders has written a strong letter to the Minister of Information and Technology questioning the Government of Pakistan on the Cyber Crime Ordinance which was promulgated into effect barely a two weeks ago. Reporters Without Borders fears that a new law on cyber crime, revealed on 7 January by the authorities, will pose serious obstacles to “citizen journalism and calls on the government to clarify the definition of some of its provisions.

“This law prevents any blogger from posting photos or video showing persons who have not given their consent, the press freedom organisation said. “Pakistan has understood its right to give itself a law for fighting cyber-crime, but it is vital that this law should not obstruct freedom of information.

Reporters Without Borders added: “We urge the government to clarify the content of some of the provisions that we think are dangerous. With just one month to go to legislative elections, some of the articles of this law look like censorship.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act has been in force since 31 December and will be submitted to the new parliament in April, after it has been elected. Reporters Without Borders has written to minister of information technology and telecommunications Awais Laghari asking him to “provide guarantees as regards respect for freedom of information.

The law provides for the death penalty for anyone causing the death of another person by means of email messages. A Federal Investigation Agency representative in Islamabad tried to justify the law by referring to Daniel Pearls murder and describing the exchange of emails between the kidnappers as a “cyber-crime.
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HRCP doubts polls can ensure democracy

Human Right Commission of Pakistan has just sent a press release where they share doubt that these election polls can ensure democracy read the entire press release here

The process leading to the January elections holds no promise of any transition to democracy. On the contrary, the elections are being used to sideline critical issues affecting the fundamental rights of people, including the ruination of the judicial system of the country, says a press release issued here on Monday by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

It says the lifting of emergency is a superficial exercise as the judiciary remains grievously damaged. The worst blow, it says, the judiciary has received is a series of attacks on its prestige.
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CNBC Warned for ‘Objectionable Programing’

CNBC PakistanIt is being reported that CNBC Pakistan, a local business channel broadcasting business news in Urdu has just recently been issued a warning from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Wednesday over violation of the code of conduct and the PEMRA Ordinance by airing objectionable programme.

Under the PEMRA Ordinance, no programme would be relayed which was aimed at hurting the feelings and leveling false allegations against any specific group, section of society and people, the media authority said in a notice issued to the CNBC channel, referring its News Guru programme. Therefore, the channel administration was warned to avoid airing such programmes.

It is considering the present situation of a martial law in Pakistan we can be sure that the cited objectionable material pertains specifically to discussions against the present regime of General Retired Pervaiz Musharraf, who claims to be trying to hold free and fair elections but at the same time will not tolerate criticism against himself. Whilst we all can be sure that the objectionable material has nothing to do with pornography or religious slander by this business channel


US Activist Arrested at US Senate Hearing on Pakistan

Peace Initiative-18.JPGOn December 6, Tighe Barry, a CODEPINK activist who along with Medea Benjamin was deported from Pakistan at gunpoint for supporting pro-democracy forces, was arrested at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on US Assistance to Pakistan.

Barry and Benjamin, deported on December 5, flew directly to Washington DC to attend this hearing. They had asked for the opportunity to testify about their firsthand experience with the heroism of Pakistans civil society and the brutality of the government, but were told that the witnesses had already been selected.

The first to testify was Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. His testimony was infuriating to Barry, Benjamin and the 10 other CODEPINK activists who were in attendance and holding up signs saying “No Money To Musarraf.
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SMS Update @ 1949: Vigil at Geo

Geo VigilVia SMS: There is a crowd of over 1000 people singing to the tune of Jenay Do a very moving sight God Bless Pakistan.

Update: The candle light vigil which was announced at Geo offices in Karachi to basically condemn the shutting down of the two popular media channels was truly amazing. The vigil itself started off at around 7pm but I am told the crowd was present there well before the specified time, when I reached there it was truly an amazing sight in the entire lane you could only see candles lit with quite a few heavy speakers blarring the signature Geo song Jeenay Do.

There were approximately well over 1500 people present most honding some sort of placard denocning the martial law but practiclaly everyone had a candle and sang the song Jeenay Do. There were a number of large TV screens showing the live feed from Geo which was being streamed via the internet. The best part of the vigil was when the Geo Musharraf-lookalike took to the stage and had some fun with the crowd with some unique imitations of the dictator. It was good to see people coming out to raise their voice against the censorship of the media.


Update @ 0055: Geo TV Pulled off air from Dubai

About a few hours ago, Geo TV (www.geo.tv) which is a private tv channel that is financed by private investors in Pakistan, and broadcast (land to air) from their base in Dubai were ordered by the UAE government after being pressurized by the Pakistani Military/Musharaff’s government to shut down the television station from broadcasting to their network across the globe from Dubai, and Geo has been served a notice to shutdown by the government in Dubai. Geo TV was one of the few media networks who continued to broadcast information to a global audience on accurate happenings in Pakistan despite the censorship that was in effect since 3rd November.

Tonight, at 2000 GMT, Geo TV were stopped from broadcasting at their editorial base in Dubai.
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Update @ 0130: Geo News DDoS’d

On Friday at around 2030 the Geo.tv started to received a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Serice) attack and they were able to recover from this surge of artificial traffic after two hours of down time by around 2235.

Geo.tv reports that this is the second time such an attack occurred on its servers resulting in bringing down the news website. According to Geo News Webmaster Asif Lateef the DDoS attacks were still in progress at 2235.

DDoS attack means that millions of hits are artificially made to strike a website in such a manner that even a very powerful computer sever is left unable to cope with the artificially boosted hits traffic

Barely a few hours earlier in the afternoon HRCP website also went down and the recovered a few hours later, at first the system administrator suspected government sponsored censorship and issued a press release accordingly but was later understood to be suspecting a potential DDoS attack as well.

It must be noted that both Geo.tv and HRCP continue to take a stance against the Martial Law imposed on Pakistan by General Pervaiz Musharraf for the past week.


Update @ 1240: Benazir Bhutto detained, HRCP website blocked

I’ve just received a SMS from Doc that Benazir Bhutto has been detained at her residence in Islamabad while one of the activists on the ground in Pakistan sent in a message via Skype, stating that the HRCP (Human Rights Commission Pakistan) website has been blocked in Pakistan by the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunications Authority).

For those in Pakistan, the HRCP website can still be accessed using an anonymizer, RSF (Reporters Without Borders) have listed out technical ways to get around censorship online and an excellent resource on blogging anonymously can be found here by Global Voices Online.

Follow-up Update:
The HRCP website is now back up online via an e-mail we received from their spokesperson.


Update @ 0200: Protest at Press Club in Karachi today

The following is a poster announcing a protest starting from 1600 (Pakistan time) today at the Press Club in Karachi which calls upon the people of Pakistan to demand for an end to the media blackout, the restoration of Supreme Court judges and lifting the state of emergency and martial law in Pakistan (sent via e-mail to the Society Against Internet Censorship in Pakistan mailing list):

Sock it to the man


WordPress.com Blockage in Thailand

Thailand Censors WordPressDon’t Block the Blog (DBTB.org): Barely a few days earlier Turkey had gone through a similar blockage of the entire WordPress.com domain being blocked for Turkish users. Reports are now coming in that Thailand has also sadly scummed to a similar bout of censorship effectively blocking the entire WordPress.com domain for all internet users in Thailand since August 22nd

The team at Global Voices Advocacy Group has been on top of this issue and has confirmed from a prominent Thailand blogger Prachatai, that Thailand has indeed plunged into a era of WordPress.com censorship
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Turkey Censors WordPress.com

Adnan Oktar - TurkeyA few months back in March there was a huge circus surrounding the decision by the Turkish government to block the entire YouTube website as it hosted a video which according to the official government statement was insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Unsurprisingly the same, modern Turkey was now up in arms protesting this blatant censorship and the hue can cry bore fruit as in two days the local court lifted the embargo.

Support Turkish BloggersRecently in yet another astonishing move, the new Turkish Pro-Islamic Government has now decided to clamp down on all blogs hosted on WordPress.com and also on Blogcu.com since one specific site adnanoktar.wordpress.com had hurled insulting remarks against Adnan Oktar, a leading Muslim advocate of creationism who is an active leader in the creation vs. evolution debate subscribing to the Old Earth Creationism concept read more details on his Wikipedia article, but if you care to read a counter-perspective where Adnan Oktar is accused of pedophile acts, blackmail and slander, and leading a sect under the guise of the Science Research Foundation then read this article probably composed by his opposition its good to understand and appreciate both sides of an argument before making any assumptions or taking sides
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FascistArmy.org Website Blocked in Pakistan

It is a fact that those romantic days of ‘Enlightened Moderation‘ a key phrase used to disguise the term Martial Law by Pervaiz Musharraf are a thing of the past. General Musharraf is now the Judge, Jury, Prosecutor and defendant all in one, playing with the fate of this country as he feels appropriate. His patience to listen to criticism has plummeted to the extent that he cannot tolerate even a strong voice let alone a finger pointing out his mistakes.

One must try to convince the commander that if he has stepped into politics then criticisms must be tolerated, had if the Army restricted itself to the barracks then he could have a strong argument to demand the respect and dignity as normally accorded to the armed forces as our sole defenders of the country, but this defensive cloak was shed the moment the Army stepped into politics back in 1999 and in effect opening the flood gates to any and all, finger pointing criticism of the army by any Pakistani who feels genuinely grieved.
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Geo Tv Blackballed because of Imran Khan

Last night GEO.tv was scheduled to re-broadcast the Jawab Deh where Iktikhar (also known as ‘Fitna’) the show host was interviewing Imran Khan and his tell-all attack on MQM. Reports of the blocked channel came first from Gulshan and it was soon verified by GEO where a number of areas across the country were blocked. My own World Call connection at home had swapped the GEO News channel and had started showing TCM (Classic Movies) instead.

The show had a disclaimer in the beginning that Geo does not subscribe to Imran’s views. In the end Fitna offered Farooq Sattar a show to reply to Imran’s accusations.

Watch the interview distributed in four parts uploaded on YouTube as follows. Link share these videos so that many more can defy the censorship enforced by the government.
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