‘Spider’:http://spiderisat.blogspot.com ‘points out’:http://spiderisat.blogspot.com/2004/08/south-asia-tribune-blocked-again.html that the ‘South Asia Tribune’:http://www.satribune.com/ is blocked once again.
So of course I went along and read the first few articles – and boy, they really do have a reason to block it! A few sample headlines:
* ‘Imagine, With Shaukat Aziz as PM, Musharraf Becomes Dispensable’:http://anon.free.anonymizer.com/http://www.satribune.com/archives/august04/P1_ss.htm
* ‘This Time the Game is Beyond Pakistans Control’:http://anon.free.anonymizer.com/http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/FH20Df04.html
_The above links are routed through ‘anonymizer.com’:http://anonymizer.com/, but sooner or later the govt. might just block that too._
Both the above articles are worth a read, but take with a pinch of salt. Anyone who can write/publish pro Mengal and Bugti articles is definitly missing a full set. Hell, in ‘this article’:http://anon.free.anonymizer.com/http://www.satribune.com/archives/august04/P1_wajid2.htm a SA Tribune writer calls Sardar Ataullah a ‘great man’ … that sentence is better found in a dictionary under the heading *bald-faced-lies*.
*Later:* Tested on two seperate ISP’s – the SA Tribune is definitly blocked. After going through it, I have to say that their writing standards have gone down. Seem’s overly alarmist, and supports many of the ‘biggest’:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nawaz_Sharif ‘failures’:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benazir_Bhutto produced by Pakistan. Regardless, lots of interesting reading material there.
There are a number of free anonymous proxy services out there, but I’ve found its fastest to run your own – so for those with a hosting account anywhere outside Pakistan can easily bypass the current censorship system. See ‘this neowin thread’:http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=206524 for a howto.
There are of course so many other ways, from setting up web-to-email gateways to just plain asking someone out there to… well the amazing thing about this whole attempted censorship attempt is why they even bother. Any hosting package can be turned into a anonymous proxy, so blocking all of them would turn into a whack-a-mole game which the govt. can only win by pulling the plug on the entire internet (and the telephone system). Anything that stands in the way of technology will fail.
They’re never going to be able to censor anything anymore, at least on the internet, so that doesn’t really bother me. This however, is of concern:
bq. The secretary of the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan, V.A. Abidi, told Dawn that the blocking of websites by the PTCL had significantly slowed down the Internet speed in the country. He said: “The addresses of those websites which have been banned have to be listed on the PTCL router. Whenever a user makes a request, the system looks up the list to determine whether it contains the request or not. This tedious process naturally takes a lot of time.”
Pakistan’s internet is already slow enough, without the governments half-baked attempts slowing it even further.
*Update:* SATribune still blocked. Use ‘this link’:http://anon.free.anonymizer.com/http://www.satribune.com/index.jsp to access it.
*Update:* Still blocked as of August 26th. _(confirmed by many now)_
Ironically, the server I am using to bypass this attempt at censorship is located in China, which has a far more draconian censorship policy than pakistan. It’s still better than places like Saudi Arabia where practically the entire internet is censored besides the Islamic sites, but even there it’s ridiculously easy to bypass the censorship. Still, for most people it *is* hard, and any popular circumvention method is soon blocked.
Update: The SA Tribune remain censored in Pakistan to the end – where it finally closed down.