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Access to up to 1,000 websites blocked

(PPF/IFEX) - Pakistani authorities have embarked on large scale partial and complete blockage of websites including YouTube and Flickr.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has not issued the list of blocked sites and claims that many of the websites may not be accessible because of technical problems. According to Jehan Ara, President, Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA), the number of blocked sites may be as high as one thousand. There have also been reports that access to Twitter and Wikipedia have sporadically been blocked.

On 19 May 2010, The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked the Internet social networking website, Facebook after it carried caricatures of Prophet Muhammad on one of its pages. The caricatures were uploaded on the Facebook page titled "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" that invited people to post drawings of Prophet Mohammed on that page. Depicting images of Mohammed is considered blasphemous by most Muslims.

The Ministry of Information Technology had asked people to inform the government of any information relating to objectionable caricatures displayed on any other website so that they could also be blocked.

Meanwhile, students, women, NGOs, religious parties, traders and labor organisations continued to stage protest demonstrations all over Pakistan, some demanding a permanent ban on Facebook.
What other IFEX members are saying

Latest Tweet:

We must urge gov’ts to protect #journalists and decrease #impunity, says IFEX’s @AnnieGame: http://t.co/rO65mtFlnu #EndImpunity