To ban or not to ban (III)


Letter May 20, 2010

KARACHI: Facebook is used by over 400 million globally. In Pakistan, over two million people use Facebook to stay in touch with their friends and family, conduct business, manage events, and share photos, news, and other content.

While we recognise that sites on the internet are used to spew hatred and incite violence, we steadfastly believe that governments have no right to control access to information. We believe that every citizen has an inalienable right to freely access information and by censoring Facebook, the government of Pakistan has taken away that right. This action will have a very negative impact on Pakistan, especially considering that countless small businesses, nonprofit organisations, restaurants, art galleries, magazines, and media outlets use Facebook to conduct day-to-day business.

In 2006, the Supreme Court banned the entire blogspot.com domain for over 18 months over a similar incident where only one blog carried blasphemous cartoons. Thousands of Pakistani bloggers were deprived of the freedom to express themselves and interact with others. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority now has the ability to block specific pages on the internet and could have banned just the single blasphemous page — which it in fact did initially, until ordered by the court to block the whole site.

As members of civil society and professionals who depend on social media networks for our daily communications, we demand the immediate restoration of Facebook and an end to Internet censorship by the government of Pakistan.

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

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COMMENTS (3)

Dr Muneeb | 10 years ago | Reply Please grow up and stop telling us what Our Beloved Prophet (S.A.W) used to do. He is an example for the mankind and it was the way of ALLAH Subhana Wa Taala which made Prophet (S.A.W) like that for his own self. It doesnt meant that if you are a muslim, you dont react with what the west terms as a freedom of speech and not extremism in the name of freedom of speech. Being muslims, we are supposed to love our Prophet (S.A.W) more than ourselves, our parents and kids. I wonder what you people will want to do with a website that poses to defame your mother or sister in any manner (God Forbid). Then please grow up and do things for the Personality (S.A.W) who taught you how to respect your mothers and sisters.
saaduddin | 10 years ago | Reply Last couple of days Pakistan has witnessed a bizarre situation when Govt of Pakistan banned FACEBOOK and then YOUTUBE just to pacify the extremist element of the society; the excuse could be made that Lahore High Court has ordered the ban; but this is unacceptable: Administration could have obtained the stay order from the Supreme Court but instead it sided with the clergy just to avoid any other confrontation in the political arena. This act of Government has done great damage to the Muslim Community in General and Pakistan in particular as it shows our intolerance and parochial approach. World Wide Web is the best medium to propagate and engage other people; one should try to contact any person whose stance on any issue is causing problem to any one; Our Holy Prophet did just that he met his worst enemies, tried to convince them; famous is the case of an old lady who use to throw garbage on him daily he (pbuh) didn’t even change his route instead he went to see her when she fell ill. So what has happened to his (pbuh) ummah why are we just playing into the hands of those who out there to defame our culture and prove to the world that what ever is being said about us is true Saaduddin 18 dohs 2 malir cantt Karachi
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