A complete blackout of cable television—the most pervasive medium in
—radio, and the Urdu press had blocked images from public view, but word spread. The students decided to participate in the protests. Pakistan
That's when the blogging began. On Nov. 5, the Emergency Times (and an attendant wiki, http://pakistan.wikia.com/wiki/Emergency_2007) appeared. It declared itself "an independent Pakistani student initiative against injustice and oppression," which gave readers a regular update and comments on the emergency, and student activities against it across
. It announced that there would be a protest by LUMS students on Nov. 7 at 2 p.m., as also at FAST-NU, a technical university in Pakistan . Lahore
Other protests were organized using Facebook, not just in
With thousands of lawyers and human rights activists in jail and media outlets being pressured to abide by a new "code of ethics," the current situation is a perfect example of how the lines between citizen and professional journalism are becoming blurred. The New York Times recently appealed to Pakistani citizens to submit eyewitness accounts of blocked protests via text, video, or photographs.
Last week Dr. Awab Alvi, who formerly ran Teeth Maestro, warned fellow bloggers of the dangers they may face in light of this power:
I THINK ITS TIME THAT ALL PAKISTAN BASED BLOGGERS SHOULD STOP BLOGGING AND BE CAREFUL SINCE ITS BEING CONFIRMED THAT MARITAL LAW IS IN EFFECT WE ALL HAVE TO PLAY IT SAFE - HAND OVER REIGNS TO INTERNATIONAL REPORTERS AND BLOGGERS TO HELP REPORT - WE CANNOT RISK IT HERE
Other bloggers have decided to remain anonymous, fearing their opposition movement may be hampered by leakages of information in the press.
With any media coverage of conflict or civil unrest come ethical questions: Should reporters risk their lives to get accurate information to the public? Under what circumstances can unnamed sources be used and trusted?
The situation in