India Uncut

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another take on the free press in Pakistan

I'd written earlier about how Blogspot blogs were supposedly blocked in Pakistan, and about how the press there isn't as free as we think. Well, B Muralidhar Reddy, my friend in Islamabad and the Hindu's correspondent there, wrote to me to say that the news about the Blogspot ban was not true, and that he was able to access my blog. And Murtaza Razvi, whom I'd met in Lahore, wrote to recently:
I see some of your Pakistani 'friends' are telling you rubbish. I read your blog nearly everyday in Lahore, [as does] my wife in Karachi. It's not blocked. By the way, the vernacular Urdu press is as critical of government policies as the English press -- of course, depending on which paper you might be reading. Pakistan's second and third largest national Urdu dailies Nawa-i-Waqt and Express are very critical and perhaps, hence, popular with the anti-Musharraf lobby. Sindhi papers Kawish and Ibrat, however, take the cake in the vernacular category.
Murtaza is the resident editor of Dawn in Lahore, and a fearless critic of Musharraf himself, so his words carry weight. There you have it.

Update: KO, who runs an interesting blog here, writes in from Karachi:
I can testify that for the last 20 days, Blogspot, along with hundreds of thousands of other sites ARE blocked in Pakistan.

Since some ISP's use satellite links, and it is up to the ISP to implement the ban, some users have access to these sites.

However, in Karachi all the major internet service providers have banned all blogspot sites.

See [Caps and emphasis in original.]
amit varma, 2:03 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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