The advisor to prime minister on Information Technology, Latif Khosa stated on Friday that no website will be blocked without proper investigation.
According to latest reports, The Ministry of Information and Technology has decided to block 17 websites, including YouTube, although the date of implementation of this order has not been ascertained. The websites are being blocked for allowing access to blasphemous material as presented to the Bahawalpur bench of the Lahore High Court. Search engines such as Yahoo and MSN will also be closely monitored for now, said ministry sources.
The Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench has summoned IT ministry officials on the 28th of this month, to further discuss the matter.
The Express Tribune ran an online poll: Should an online search engine be banned because it provides access to blasphemous content?
The results: No - 86%, Yes - 14%
The online community of Pakistan has responded strongly to the announcement of the possible ban.
Blogger Ammar Yassir wrote
The news that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may face a death penalty by the Lahore High Court (LHC) didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the facebook fiasco in Pakistan. Keeping in view the recent few verdicts by the LHC which ironically defied some basic laws of physics, geography and common sense, there is a major possibility that the young entrepreneur from New York is sentenced to a death penalty under Criminal Code 295-C on blasphemy laws.
Salman Latif blogged
Banning a score of sites, including Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, Bing, YouTube and Amazon, the moral axe has yet again grinded on the pretext of blasphemous content. Without a doubt, such a ban is bound to impact millions of users across the country, positively inhibiting their online activity.
Excellent!! If we can’t see blasphemous material, obviously it doesn’t exist. The definition of ‘blasphemous material’ and methods of controlling it is getting to be a highly ridiculous joke now. These people need to go out and actually do something constructive in the world.
Simply ridiculous. Even the earlier ban on facebook was ridiculous. The lawyers and judges first need to understand how “internet” works before going all out against it. They are simply making a joke out of our nation.
Ali Habib wrote
I would have hoped that after the Facebook debacle, our courts would have had the sense to throw petitions like this out of court instead of taking them seriously and fast tracking us to the Stone Age. I do not pay taxes to have judges who clearly don’t understand how the Internet works upholding ridiculous petitions like this. This obsession we have with blasphemy colours everything else we do, usually at the expense of common sense and basic freedoms.
Small minority of commenters favour blanket ban
I appreciates the decision taken by the court & the voice raise by a Pakistani. Do not be dependent on your country’s enemies’ products or technology so much.Make your self Independent.
Moiz Ahmed wrote
A block means block of massive traffic, which is the real loss one suffers. Block is a protest, not stone age; protest that they have hurt the people’s feelings. I am not too sure about feelings of people (who have posted anit-judiciary comments) for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); but mine are very strong. Like many others, I would voice for Prophet Muhammad if some one tries to make fun of him. Search engines has a term called “sponsored search results”; I wonder if they listed blasphemous material under sponsored search results. Above all, no one should ever post sacrilegious material on internet anyway. We, struggled a lot of independence of judiciary and stand by it till the end. And I feel every Pakistani should; if they are Pakistani.
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