Two weeks after the Pakistan government passed a new law with tough punishment for cyber crimes, hundreds of anti-establishment blogs have been blocked, bloggers said.
Access to blogspot.Com, a hosting domain that contains hundreds of blogs by Pakistani students and activists opposing President Pervez Musharraf's rule and championing causes like the reinstatement of deposed judges, has been blocked or restricted across the country since Monday.
However, Information Technology Ministry member Nooruddin Baqai told The News that no instructions to ban certain websites had been issued by the Inter-Ministerial committee on national issues.
Students of various universities, including the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences, FAST-National University and Punjab University, had started hosting blogs. The trend registered a jump after Musharraf imposed emergency on November 3 last year and private TV channels were taken off cable networks.
Students who host a blog to bring out "The Emergency Times" on Tuesday added a new post telling people how to dodge the block and read their e-newspaper.
"In another desperate measure, the government has banned access to blogs (particularly blogspot/wordpress) from Pakistan. Hence, 'The Emergency Times' and other such avenues of information are no longer accessible to Pakistanis. Don't worry. They can't stop us," read the post.
Some students have already started a movement "Slap the Ban" to protest against what they say is a measure similar to the ban imposed on TV news channels by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.