PTA determined to block websites with 'objectionable' content

Published: March 9, 2012

Sources in PTA say the authority blocks websites through its licensees.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Friday reiterated its stance to provide a cost effective, automated and transparent system for blocking websites that promote “blasphemous and objectionable content.”    

PTA, being the telecom regulator in the country, will implement policies to block websites with “blasphemous, un-Islamic, offensive, objectionable, unethical, and immoral material.”

Talking to APP, official sources in PTA said, “We will also see the viability of permanently blocking the websites involved in unethical and illegal activities.”

PTA’s mandate is to regulate the telecommunication system in Pakistan, officials said adding that it does not regulate content transmitted directly or indirectly, nor does it control the sources of the content outside Pakistan.

The sources further said that PTA, as and when directed by government, blocks websites through its licensees.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee was constituted in 2006 to evaluate materials and requests, for blocking websites and gave recommendations to the Ministry of Information Technology for issuance of necessary directives after scrutiny, for filtering and blocking by PTA.

The Lahore High Court, in various cases, has also provided guidelines for strict action against offensive websites.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee keeps a vigilant eye on the websites and in case of any objectionable material concerning the “religious faith of any group”, is bound to take prompt action.

Reader Comments (26)

  • Bhatti
    Mar 9, 2012 - 6:46PM

    Block whatever you want but not porn please…

    Recommend

  • Mar 9, 2012 - 6:46PM

    I wonder how do they define “objectionable”.

    Recommend

  • Mir
    Mar 9, 2012 - 6:49PM

    How will PTA make sure that it wont play in hands of dictators and government to curb the opposition voices or you will play the dubious role like PEMRA and cable operators who blackedout channels in Musharaf’s time and later years.

    Recommend

  • Foreigner
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:10PM

    @Bhatti:
    I’m going to assume ur joking… Porn is for losers who can’t get any and don’t have anything better to do with their time.

    In the West, its the wierdos who watch porn. Sad to see that in Pakistan its becoming a popular thing – seriously guys?

    Recommend

  • Hassam
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:15PM

    As usual in Pakistan someone else is going to decide for us what is objectionable and immoral. Banning stuff only creates curiosity, Same happened when the high court banned facebook on the blasphay issue, the page wasn’t that popular just 10000 to 15000 fans. The minute we blocked facebook, it was all over the news and the page got so much popularity that in less than a day it had more than 100,000 fans. So we actually gave them free publicity. I say genius.

    Recommend

  • Hassam
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:17PM

    @Foreigner:
    Because you think porn is for losers so we should ban it? Stop enforcing your beliefs on others. If someone else thinks what your doing is for losers, does he have the right to stop you? NO nor does anyone else

    Recommend

  • Abdul-Razak Edhy
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:18PM

    @Mir: Why you want to make it sure. Rest assured it’s very purpose is what you fear, the rest is only a curtain to cover it.

    Recommend

  • Mir
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:54PM

    @Abdul-Razak Edhy:
    First they blacked out print media, then tv channels and now they will surprise us with internet blackout. We are surely making quick progress towards progressive and democratic Pakistan where everyone is free to express and where information is in access to all.

    Recommend

  • AM
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:56PM

    @foreigner: Bro its a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide

    Recommend

  • Elementary
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:00PM

    According to google pakistan is top of the list for searching for Adult exclusive/porn websites.If that’s what mature ,sane ,muslim adults of pakistan want to do with their time then let it be.Burying their heads in sand never helped any ostrich neither would banning these sites do any thing to change our mindset.
    Hiding,denying,mystifying,shrouding,censoring can only make a curious brain rotten.

    Recommend

  • Fudge
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:08PM

    @Foreigner:
    Which West you live in buddy?? You sure you know anything about West?? You will be a loser to not acknowledge how big an industry porn is!! “Getting popular in Pakistan”!! Excuse me but porn is popular everywhere!

    Recommend

  • DevilHunterX
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:23PM

    I find POLITICAL and RELIGIOUS parties websites objectionable. BAN IT!

    Recommend

  • Foreigner
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:35PM

    Just telling u what I saw growing up “in the West” (in the US), In high school, Yea it was downloaded and traded among the wierdo boys who didn’t hang out too much with girls, and didn’t have much of a social life. It honestly wasn’t that big of a thing in the US. Some ppl watch it sure – human needs, but they aren’t proud of it.

    That’s the problem in Pakistan. U guys are actually proud of it. Porn was the escape for guys who couldn’t get girls/girlfriends in the US – thus had to find some other way to fulfill their needs. I don’t get where you guys get the idea that its a cool thing – (i’ve heard Pakistani guys even watch it together).

    So I’m not pushing my beliefs onto you. My problem is Pakistani guys celebrating it. U guys are role models for your younger generation (sorry for being corny but its true).

    Get a girlfriend. Get married. Think about your sister. I don’t know, whatever it takes for u to develop some respect for yourself and women. Ur messing with ur own biology, bringing on early ejaculation but go ahead do what u want.

    Oh and by the way – this isn’t just my opinion. Several of friends in the US who visited Pakistan talk about how horny and porn addicted the Pakistani guys are. Yes, I feel sorry for how conservative the society is and how Islam is misrepresented. But seriously, ur going to defend porn – get a grip.

    Recommend

  • Foreigner
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:54PM

    I’m not advocating blocking websites. Power like that is always misused – I was simply talking about ur celebration of porn that’s all.

    Recommend

  • Haris
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:56PM

    @Foreigner I can’t agree more with you.

    Recommend

  • Much Amused
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:49PM

    The PTA want to make money. They will give out large money IT contract to their chosen ones. It matters nought to them whether people watch porn or blasphemy. They couldnt care less. They are corrupt like the rest of Pakistani establishment.

    Recommend

  • Mar 9, 2012 - 10:53PM

    Objectionable…
    Em a law Student and i failed to find any satisfying definition nywhere of the word objectionable..

    Recommend

  • sidjeen
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:00PM

    has the PTA ever heard about proxies.

    Recommend

  • Mj
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:08AM

    And still thousands of websites spouting extremist ideology and carrying death fatwas are easily accessible. What are our priorities?

    Recommend

  • Senman
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:50AM

    by blocking sites Pakistan has found a shortcut to become a great country as we all know China become great after blocking websites. I pity the people in Pakistan, now we will never know what they are going through.

    Recommend

  • MUNIB
    Mar 10, 2012 - 1:18AM

    There is lot of educational stuff on following website how come it became objectionable ?

    http://www.filestube.com

    Recommend

  • Dash
    Mar 10, 2012 - 1:42AM

    This is not fair.

    Recommend

  • Um@ir
    Mar 10, 2012 - 3:59AM

    You might have heard “Excess of everything is bad”, Honestly I don’t know to how much extent do you agree with this phrase neither do I want to start a new debate here. My point fellows is just that we must appreciate the initiative that is in the interest of our people, our children, coming generations from every perspective.Mark my words it will have a significant impact.

    And please to those who will say there is a website called Google, proxies and the list goes on, i would like to ask them two simple questions.

    1).Firstly, if you know that you still will be able to access the content you wish for then man why and what you are afraid of? Let them block and you keep on enjoying.

    2). Second and important question is, I am sure people here will have quite good idea of our literacy rate. Mostly, I am not saying all, ill iterate people who visited the cafes, these websites just don’t know what else to do, if they are so wise that they know and can get use of websites like Google and proxies, Would they be doing so, all the time?

    At least, it’s a plausible effort.

    Recommend

  • Um@ir
    Mar 10, 2012 - 4:10AM

    @Sidjeen
    You must write an email/letter to Director PTA informing them of these new species of websites called proxies. I am sure, in response you will get a letter of appreciation.

    Recommend

  • Um@ir
    Mar 10, 2012 - 4:20AM

    @Foreigner
    I must appreciate your concern, No offense but I disagree with you there was never a misrepresentation, Indeed in my opinion it’s our negligence from the religion that’s led us to this situation

    Recommend

  • ht312
    Mar 10, 2012 - 10:13AM

    @Um@ir:
    My problem with banning is the filtering of information not just porn. Proxies are a way around but you have to change it from time to time and sometimes you don’t find a working proxy. But the main problem is the more filters PTA puts up in the DNS, the more time it will take to send requests to a server.Our internet will go slow! and then its our money which they are using to set up the system (10 million dollars) Our money being used for a purpose that is useless and pathetic. More people will start watching cause it’s going to create curiosity.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan