We might as well ban the internet


Editorial May 20, 2010

Everyone is agreed that the drawing of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is offensive and blasphemous and not what any follower of Islam would ever tolerate. Plus the double standard was not easy to ignore. We advocated in this space yesterday that instead of banning the whole of Facebook, it would have been better if those pages of the website were blocked which were hosting these caricatures. However, what we saw on May 20 was something that is difficult to condone and can only be explained by overzealousness on the part of the PTA which said that it had banned around 450 websites in addition to Facebook. These included Wikipedia (which was accessible by late evening), YouTube and the picture-hosting site Flickr. A PTA spokesman has said that this has been done to prevent users in Pakistan from seeing blasphemous content which the government regulator says can be found on such sites. While one can understand the sentiment behind this, the point is that any number of websites can be perceived as offensive by any number of users. The issue is that where should the line be drawn. With Facebook, this could have been resolved — as we have reiterated before — by blocking the specific pages but it is difficult to justify the ban on the new websites added by the PTA to its blacklist on Thursday.

If the authority continues to block domains for content in this manner, it might as well ban the whole internet. Apart from the outrage that Thursday's action of blocking 450 extra websites caused in Pakistan, it has made the country a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. Those behind such hate sites are seeking exactly the kind of response that they have received in Pakistan. The most effective response in such cases is to ignore it completely and it will disappear on its own.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 21st, 2010.

COMMENTS (11)

SERENDIPITY | 11 years ago | Reply Banning should be illigal it is 100% contrary to "freedom of speech." Being recently "Banned" for no reasonable reason I am at the mercy & discretion of the "banners." Perhaps we should all be mute, for fear of misunderstandings & hurt feelings certainly no room for sarcasm any more. Honesty won't work either, it is true "You/they can't handle the truth!" So lets all fake it and lie so we are all politically correct & hide our true feelings. "But then I won't have anything to say?" We all live in our own little world's, our own reality's if I'm wrong say's who? Luv, Serendipity PS: I MAY HAVE MISSED THE LARGE POINT BUT IT STILL STANDS TRUE FOR ALL!
Umayr Masud | 11 years ago | Reply Reply to Dirk: In civilized cultures if someone asks you politely to not insult them, civilized people don't. Unfortunately Europe has a history of ill treatment of minorities , Holocaust being one example. The current spew of hatred in the name of free speech is imagery similar to what Hitler used as his propaganda tool. You can view a few here http://www.bytwerk.com/gpa/lustige.htm What you need to do is lighten up and realize that Muslims are part of your countries now , instead of telling them off you better learn and find solutions.
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