Facebook was blocked yesterday after the Court’s order against the blasphemous Facebook Page and now it looks like the start of a social websites blackout in Pakistan. Youtube, the popular video sharing site, Wikipedia, a crowd sourced encyclopedia and Flickr, the popular photo sharing sate has also been blocked in Pakistan.
It has been reported that the controversial content from blocked Facebook pages had made there way to the video sharing sites, Wikiepedia and Flickr as well. That is why these sites have been blocked as well.
While Youtube has been blocked, other video sharing sites are running all fine. Similarly, Flickr has been blocked by Picasa and other photo sharing sites are also up.
It has also been reported that Google.com was also blocked for some this morning in Pakistan but now it’s working all fine.
Lemonbits.net is also blocked. The page title is “Anti-Draw-Muhammad-Day”. With the blasphemous page coming online and getting popular, many other sites that oppose or support that page have also come online. Lemonbits.net was one of them.
How to use Wikipedia in Pakistan during the ban
Wikipedia.com has been blocked but Wikipedia.org is still available. You can select any language other than English to use Wikipedia non-english version. For example you can access French version or Urdu version of Wikipedia without any problem. Even you can access non-english version and can get it translated using Google Translations or any similar service.
Response from the News websites
Popular news websites like CNN, BBC, Google News and popular Pakistani news websites like Dawn and Geo News have all reported about the ban on Youtube as well as Facebook. Though, nobody is talking about the ban on Wikipedia and Flickr. No doubt Facebook and Youtube are more popular than Wikipedia or Flickr, they are worth mentioning when reporting news.
Important stats come from an unnamed PTA rep in the Geo News article. According to these unofficial stats, more than 20% of Pakistan’s Internet bandwidth is utilized by users accessing these two sties.
Following is the list of the news articles coming on these popular news websites:
Update *** May 22, 2010 , 2:30pm GMT
Wikipedia is now accessible throughout Pakistan but there is a large number of other websites that are not working in the country. Flickr, Facebook and Youtube are still not accessible. This means that all those websites that embed videos from Youtube are also showing a white blank space instead of the video. One of my blog that serves technology news has also been blocked without anything to do with the controversial content.