News has been filtering through today that the authorities in Pakistan have blocked access to Blogspot:
Pakistan telecom authorities have blocked several websites inviting people to draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, it has emerged.
Instructions were issued to internet service providers across Pakistan on 27 February to block about a dozen websites of various origins.
Including Blogspot, (aka Blogger) which is one of the largest blog hosting websites.
George Bush is visiting Pakistan this weekend, and I’ve heard a number of rumours that I the decision to block access is timed to coincide with his visit. The BBC article, however, suggests that the decision to block blogspot sites was actually taken because of the Danish cartoon controversy – that the authorities actually just intended to block one blogspot blog, but have ended up blocking the whole blogspot domain. So, essentially, it’s just one big screw up.
I have to say I tend toward the screw-up theory.
Anyway, as an aside, there’s an interesting backstory to how the news broke into the mainstream media, via the BBC. Bloggers on an email listserver noted that they weren’t able to access anything from blogspot. And it just happens that a couple of BBC journalists frequent this list. A word here, a phone call there, and the story begins to make international waves.
Another demonstration of the blogosphere’s ability to break news.