Task force formed to block anti-Islam content round the clock: Malik

Published: September 14, 2012

Malik says he has contacted Interpol to enact law which prevents anti-Islam material from being published on the internet. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: As protests were held in many parts of Pakistan on Friday against an anti-Islam film, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that a task force has been constituted for round the clock supervision of monitoring and blocking of anti-Islamic material on websites.

Talking to media after chairing a high level meeting in Islamabad on Friday, he said that a high level task force has been constituted that will supervise the blocking process of the anti-Islamic material, with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Information Technology Ministry having already blocked 122 anti-Islamic sites including one video clip that was posted on the Internet this month.

Providing details of the new steps, Malik said that the team would be headed by Member (legal) in Ministry of Information Technology while Member (technical), Director General, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Director, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would be its members. The Committee will meet every week which will be duly monitored by a team of two Federal Secretaries and Chairman PTA who will keep advising the concerned authorities to enhance the monitoring system for zero tolerance on the issue.

Since the canvas of the internet is too large and needs to be monitored closely to control such blasphemous, anti-Islamic slogans, videos, audios and other such material. In view of this, the meeting took some decisions including that Pakistan would take serious cognisance of any such detrimental material to Islam and obscene material being released on the Internet and being replicated in Pakistan.

All web designers, web sites, blocked sites, social media are told to refrain from planting any such material which may hurt the feelings of Muslims. Violators would be subject to serious action in terms of legal action.

Moreover, it was further decided that a control room under the supervision of a Director PTA would come into force with immediate effect to have 24 hours monitoring. It will not only monitor but also block such material instantly.

Malik clarified that neither YouTube nor facebook was blocked and only material detrimental to anti-Islamic material, obscene material will be blocked on case to case basis.

The interior minister said that he had also talked to and written a letter to the Secretary General Interpol regarding the issue of posting of defamatory video clip on the internet.

The PTA in a statement on Thursday said that “proactive monitoring and blocking is being done, round the clock,” of the film. However, a search on YouTube revealed that the clip, being uploaded from various accounts was still accessible in Pakistan though some links were blocked.

YouTube blocks film in some countries

The film, “Innocence of Muslims” has been a subject of violent protests from Egypt to Pakistan. Following violence outside US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, YouTube, on which the video is hosted, blocked it from being viewed in Egypt and Libya.

“We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions,” YouTube said in a statement. “This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video – which is widely available on the web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries. Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday’s attack in Libya.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that apart from Egypt and Libya, access to the film had been restricted in India as well.

Meanwhile, Indonesia, which has one of the largest populations of Muslims, too has requested YouTube to block the video there.

The video sharing site has been blocked by the government in Afghanistan since Tuesday to prevent emotions from flaring up. Afghanistan said that the social network website would remain blocked in their country till they decide to take the film off the internet.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Syeda Zainab
    Sep 14, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Wished he was this quick to form task force to hunt down religious terrorists committing suicide bombings,beheadings.

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  • Abdul Moiz
    Sep 14, 2012 - 9:26PM

    Take such prompt action against the madrassas spreading religious intolerance and bigotry also.Persecuting ppl for thought crime is another feather in the cap of the supposedly ‘liberal’ govt.

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  • san
    Sep 14, 2012 - 9:30PM

    Due to technological advancement Mr Rehman there will be always apps like “Hotspot Shield” to see all banned websites. So far no government is able to ban “Hotspot Shield”. Try your best to censer media but there is always a way out.

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  • Muhammad Bilal
    Sep 14, 2012 - 9:31PM

    Yes,please take us back to the age of the dinosaurs.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 14, 2012 - 10:09PM

    Where was Minister when India complained that hate message towards people of North East India were emanating from Pakistani soil?

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  • Mj
    Sep 15, 2012 - 12:22AM

    Yes, please babysit us, and tell us what we can and cannot watch as we’re too immature to think for ourselves.

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  • Mj
    Sep 15, 2012 - 12:25AM

    Will they also block the videos and websites calling for the killing of Ahmedis, Christians, Hindus, exMuslims, Shias, Americans, Indians, Israelis? I guess not.

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  • Sep 15, 2012 - 12:37AM

    Good step,as it’s Malik saab’s duty to resist any act of terrorism.I hope that the peace loving nations like USA will bring that terrorist film maker to justice…..how about a cage for him inside Wazirastan,since Guantanamo is already very congested and had seen a lot?

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  • Usman
    Sep 15, 2012 - 12:51AM

    You-tube or another website should not allow Anti-Islam , Anti-Pakistan videos to use their platform …. If you-tube or other website doesn’t make this policy ban them…

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  • Muhammed Usama Aziz
    Sep 15, 2012 - 12:52AM

    A very good Decision taken by government. Freedom of speech does not mean you can say whatever you want!!

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  • A2Z
    Sep 15, 2012 - 1:07AM

    Govt is trying to block anti-Islam content, why the commentators are upset on this. Do they wana see those movies? How such blockage will take you to the stone age? Do you care to explain it?

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  • Sep 15, 2012 - 1:23AM

    Number of committees and task force Mr. Malik has formed so far are equal to number of unemployed citizens of our country.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Sep 15, 2012 - 2:03AM

    But no attempt to block any ANTI AHMADI hate content flowing from tv channels, print media in the country?

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  • numbersnumbers
    Sep 15, 2012 - 2:44AM

    @Usman:
    Then would you ALSO want YouTube to ban all anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish videos, or are those OK according to YOU?

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  • Vikram
    Sep 15, 2012 - 2:48AM

    @Syeda Zainab: Wished he was this quick to form task force to hunt down religious terrorists committing suicide bombings,beheadings.

    I think he is just talking about blocking some websites. Corruption, suicide bombings, beheading s will continue. Terrorism is a big business in Pakistan.

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  • Jetpur Memon
    Sep 16, 2012 - 12:10PM

    Because Google is not blocking anti Islamic video.

    As starting point Muslims should install AdBlock Plus (free) Make sure Google ads are blocked with it. Google’s religion of revenue will be affected and they will be start to be sympathetic towards other people’s religion.Recommend

  • adeel
    Sep 17, 2012 - 1:43AM

    @Mj:
    there is no need to block these vdos coz it has not value. but the mentioned movie/vdo is devastating not ur so called vdos.

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  • Zain Kamran
    Sep 20, 2012 - 5:49PM

    If this ‘ elite ‘ task force was to have any brains, Google Play ( Android Market ) would still be accessible…
    Maybe, those task force commandos would have thought Google PLAY to be a video playing website ? ( because it contains the word ‘ play’ )
    cool, isn’t it?

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