Pakistan: Stop The Firewall! #StopCensoringPk

20 million internet users in Pakistan could be censored.

In a shocking display of arrogance, the Pakistan government has placed an ad (see picture) in the national papers asking for IT companies to help them build a national Chinese-style censorship firewall.

At least four western IT companies have already said they won’t participate (Websense, Cisco, Verizon, and Sandvine – thank you!). Help persuade other firms to urgently follow suit before the bidding deadline this Friday. Add your name here calling upon Bluecoat, Huawei, McAfee, Netsweeper, ZTE, and all local bidders to refuse to play a role in putting up the walls of censorship. 15,709 have signed the petition. Help us get to 20,000. 

And please also sign the petition calling on Pakistan’s National Assembly, Ministry of Finance, Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister to uphold and deliver their pledge for democracy and to instruct the Ministry of IT to respect our call not to spend millions of dollars on this technology - Pakistan: Stop The Firewall!

CFRM letter to editors The News and Jang re: an unethical, false and irresponsible report

The Citizens for Free and Responsible Media, Pakistan, has sent an email to the Editors of The News and Jang regarding an unethical, false and irresponsible report about Ali Dayan’s testimony before the US congressional hearing on Balochistan, in response to a private member’s proposed resolution in the House of Representatives. Text of the email posted in a Note in the CFRM facebook page; also copy-pasted below. (Note: Contrary to the impression given in some sections of the media in Pakistan, the U.S. has not passed any ‘bill’ on Balochistan; even if such a bill does pass, it will have no legally binding status unless it is debated and presented for a vote in the form of a bill that would need to pass through both the lower house and the senate).  Continue reading

Kamran Shahid’s threat to CFRM signatories…

Blog post Feb 21, 2012Kamran Shahid of Express TV sent the following email to Citizens for Free and Responsible Media in response to CFRM’s letter on the Pakistani media and Balochistan that was also emailed to him. Both are posted on the CFRM facebook page. I do wonder what about the letter he found “factually incorrect and harassing” and on what basis he has threatened legal action. Many of the names provided in the letter are well known public figures, should be easy enough to find their addresses if he really wants to.

> From: kamran shahid <kamran.shahid@expressnews.tv>
> Date: Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 12:37 AM
> Subject: Re: Citizens for Free and Responsible Media statement on the media and Balochistan
> To: C4FRM Pakistan <c4frmpk@gmail.com>
> Kindly send your Names and addresses, so that on the basis of your factually incorrect and rather harassing mail, a legal notice will be served > to you in 24 hours.
> *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

Citizens for Free and Responsible Media, Pakistan: Summary of media consumer activism

 Summary of media consumer activism in Pakistan from Citizens for Free and Responsible Media, Pakistan, Saturday February 4, 2012: Continue reading

Citizens’ response: Thank you Mr Siddiqi…

Maya Khan: fired for refusing to tender an unconditional apology

From: Dr Kamran Iqbal (cc’d to signatories below)
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2012
To: Zafar Siddiqi

Dear Mr Siddiqi,

Thank you for your prompt and courageous response. We appreciate the moral courage of SAMAA TV’s stance. We hope you will continue to lead by example in developing a code of ethics and directives, which you have issued for your channel that we urge, should be made public on your website. You may want to have a look at the code of conduct guidelines of the Society of Professional Journalists, to consult while drafting your guidelines. Continue reading

Media ethics: Samaa TV’s response to citizens’ feedback and Maya Khan’s refusal to apologise

Maya Khan: fired for refusing to tender an unconditional apology

Following the citizens’ campaign expressing outrage at a Samaa TV morning show’s intrusive and unethical programming, and the host  Maya Khan’s refusal to apologise unconditionally, the channel is taking her show off the air and terminating her contract. BELOW: CEO Samaa TV Zafar Siddiqi’s letter in response to our email to him yesterday. This is the power of collective, visible, non-violent action — and of the social media that helped to spread the word. This will not end here. Media consumers in Pakistan are waking up to their own power, and will continue to lobby for an ethical, responsible media. Continue reading

Citizens’ response to Zafar Siddiqi, President CNBC Pakistan & CEO Samaa TV

Maya Khan's 'not apology'

On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM, <Zafar Siddiq> wrote:

Dear All
I have travelled to Khi to look at this matter and yesterday Maya apologised in her program for this. I can assure this will never happen again. Samaa is a progressive channel.
There are certain other directives that have been put into place as of yesterday.
I thank everyone concerned in bringing this matter to my attention. It’s really appreciated.
best regards

Zafar Siddiqi
Chairman CNBC Arabiya
Chairman CNBC Africa
President CNBC Pakistan

Jan 27 21012, citizens’ response to Zafar Siddiqi’s email above Continue reading

Samaa TV’s apology and Maya Khan’s smiling (not) apology

Maya Khan's 'not apology'

So after all the public pressure, Samaa TV apologises, says the programme that was broadcast (moral policing, intrusion of privacy) does not reflect their policy, and that it won’t happen again. The anchor says that the programme host Maya Khan has also apologised – but the apology we are then shown is no apology. Sitting in a bedroom (bedroom??!) with her hair wrapped up in a turban, she smilingly  says she didn’t mean to hurt anyone – Continue reading

RIP Mukarram Khan Atif, another journalist killed in Pakistan

Anguish and anger. Yet another journalist in Pakistan, Mukarram Khan Atif of Mohmand Agency, shot dead in cold-blood. The Taliban have claimed responsibility. They are out to eliminate our best, our brightest and our bravest. They will not succeed.

Read Tazeen on how Atif helped her look “beyond the stereotype of a stern and unyielding tribesman with his intelligence, valour, grace, and self effacing sense of humour. He humanized the area and its people for me, a city dweller who only conjured up images of Hakimullah Mehsud and the likes in reference with the tribesmen from FATA” (A Reluctant Mind: Another foul murder). Also read Daud Khattak’s article highlighting the threats journalists in Pakistan face: Continue reading

An Open Letter To Marvi Sirmed

An Open Letter To Marvi Sirmed by Usmann Rana. Thanks for speaking up.

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