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.