Newswatch | Newswatch

You are here

India blocks Pakistani newspaper web site

According to PPF, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), India's sole gateway to the Internet, has blocked the web site of Pakistan's leading English language daily newspaper, "Dawn".

According to "The Times of India", Internet users in India have been unable to connect to the "Dawn" website for more than a week. A VSNL official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told "The Times of India" that the company had blocked access to the Karachi-based newspaper's site. Only those users on privately leased international circuits can still get through.

"The Times of India" adds that, despite several phone calls to VSNL, no explanation has been forthcoming. In fact, company officials are not even willing to admit that the site has been blocked. VSNL Delhi acknowledges that the site is unavailable but blames headquarters in Mumbai for the problem. Senior officials in VSNL Mumbai, on the other hand, feign ignorance and promise to get back, which they never do. Amitav Kumar, the company's acting managing director, was reportedly busy in a board meeting the whole day on Friday, 2 July 1999, and hence unable to come to the phone

"Dawn" is the second Pakistani media organisation that has been blocked in India. Last month information and broadcasting minister Pramod Mahajan banned cable operators from relaying Pakistan TV (see IFEX alerts of 15 June, 9 June and 4 June 1999).

The blocking of "Dawn" was criticized in Pakistan. Nusrat Mirza, the advisor on public affairs for the Ministry of Information and Media Development, termed the action an act against freedom of press and democracy.

Date posted: July 5, 1999 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 2301