March 14, 2009

Pakistan bans access to Geo TV

Per The Hindu, the Pakistani government blocked access to private television station Geo TV in some parts of the country after it apparently took a political stance at odds with the government in an ongoing legal battle.

Many twitterers in Pakistan voiced their displeasure with the move.

@zeeshan_ahmed (Pakistan): Alas! Geo TV has been banned again, yet again that is...

@HamzaZafar (Karachi, Pakistan): Zardari has finally signed his resignation by banning GEO TV! Nice! One more reason to kick him out

@abidbeli Geo TV transmission have been banned in several major cities in Pakistan by the so called democratic government of General Zardari.

Some tweeted a workaround for those who couldn't access the station.

@fitalnamsu (Lahore, Pakistan): You can stream Geo TV on internet here: #LongMarch

@awaisnaseer (Rawapindi, Pakistan): Watch high quality Geo TV in stand alone Media Player. Click or paste this link in your browser #LongMarch

Apparently, Geo TV wasn't the only station to have its plug pulled. Two others disappeared at least momentarily, according to Twitter users.

@SaadSaeed (Lahore, Pakistan): Can't seem to find BBC or CNN on my cable tv. #Lahore

@aamir7 (Islamabad, Pakistan): @SaadSaeed same here... removed! gonna find some alternate

@SaadSaeed later tweeted that the stations returned.


Featured TwitPic: Tehran skyline from local university

"The View from the 5th floor of Azad University Central Tehran Branch" (Posted by @y_shar)


Shopping mall fire kills seven in Dhaka

Per, at least seven people died and 17 were injured after a fire broke out on the upper floors of Bangladesh's largest shopping mall, Bashundhara City, on Friday afternoon in Dhaka.

Twitter did not break this story, but @junal provided the first tweet, citing's initial story on it just moments after the blaze began.

@junal (Dhaka, Bangladesh): Fire breaks out at Basundhara City

The tweets came in rapidly after that, providing context from the capital city.

@mza069 (Dhaka, Bangladesh): south asia's largest shopping mall basundhara city is on fire.

@enamul (Dhaka, Bangladesh): My God! Bashundhara City is set on fire. It's flaming right now. May Allah save us!

@munim (Dhaka, Bangladesh): Bashundhara City Shopping Complex on serious fire from 18th floor and coming downwards. Shopping complex is still safe

Several twitterers noted that firefighters had trouble reaching the blaze, as their ladder did not go high enough. Helicopters were used to assist in the rescue.

@mhmbd (Dhaka, Bangladesh): Now they have the capacity to control fire up to 14th floor only. so they need helicoptor supported system as soon as possible

@mttwit (Dhaka, Bangladesh): Govt gives permission to make high-rise but don't improve the fire-service to reach those height! Poor they trying to climb 250' by ladders


Tensions resurface in Madagascar

Per Reuters, those in Madagascar are preparing for the worst as "[d]issident soldiers said they deployed tanks in the capital on Friday and the president urged the population to repel the mutineers."

The U.S. Embassy "is encouraging its diplomats and citizens to leave while they can" according to the article. The ongoing political conflict in the nation the last few months has severely hit its $390-million-a-year tourism industry, per Reuters.

Recent tweets from Madagascar have reflected on the lingering crisis:

@tandriamirado (Antananarivo, Madagascar): #madagascar TVM (Télévision Nationale) is out of service.

@barijaona (Madagascar): Précision pour personnes hors de #madagascar : sauf les rumeurs, les 2 derniers jours étaient paisibles : manifs pacifiques (pro et anti) (Accuracy for people outside #madagascar: despite the rumors, the last 2 days were peaceful demonstrations peaceful (pro and anti))

@layshiyuut (Tamatave, Madagascar): #madagascar all we need is peace and love.

@thierry_ratsiz (Antananarivo, Madagascar): RT @layshiyuut #madagascar all we need is peace and love. (I totally agree. Plz no more drama!)

One Antananarivo blogger has used Twitter to provide live tweets for at least the last month. She posted these updates recently:

@ariniaina (Antananarivo, Madagascar): #madagascar 12.40pm TGV protesters r shouting in Antaninarenina planning to take the ministry of finance
@ariniaina: #madagascar 01.54pm Antaninarenina is now quiet. TGV protesters r all gone n I heard they r in Anosy now.
@ariniaina: #madagascar No MIDI M/kara newspaper published today. A group of people frightened to burn this media company last night.

Following along, Liberian twitterer @oso recognized the work of @ariniaina.

@oso (Monrovia, Liberia): @ariniaina It really shows the importance of bloggers like you when so many mainstream malagasy media outlets are being threatened.

She responded:

@ariniaina (Antananarivo, Madagascar): @oso cuz of this crisis, citizen media improved a lot in #madagascar and are the most "trustable"

UPDATE: @tandriamirado tells Breaking Tweets that two local radio stations were jacked in Madagascar, making civilians in danger. Threats against local media continue, making citizen reports all the more valuable.

Related Breaking Tweets articles:
Feb. 21, Madagascar adversaries meet to quell violence
Feb. 7, Madagascar protest turns deadly