Why a ban on porn sites is futile

Published: February 12, 2012
Email
The writer is web editor of The Express Tribune and tweets @Jhaque_ (jahanzaib.haque@tribune.com.pk)

The writer is web editor of The Express Tribune and tweets @Jhaque_ (jahanzaib.haque@tribune.com.pk)

There are three big problems with banning and blocking pornographic websites in Pakistan, ranging from the most basic — it does not work — to the more troubling ‘saying yes to banning porn is saying yes to state oppression’, to the most deeply worrying ‘our national identity seems to be one of a imbecile out to harm himself’.

Let’s address the most basic problem first. The reason why a ban on porn can never work is because of a simple economic principle — where there is demand, there will be supply, and the demand is going nowhere. Those who want to see porn online will do so. Their options are unlimited. For every 13,000 porn sites the Pakistan government blocks, there are over 327 million other pages to browse as porn accounts for 12 per cent of all online visits and 35 per cent of all downloads worldwide. If the PTA somehow convinced our local ISPs to block all 327 million pages of porn, the filtering system would strangle all internet in Pakistan, not to mention, by the time such action was taken, there would probably be a million new porn sites out there. Let’s also not forget that proxy servers (sites that change your IP to different locations) make all 13,000 blocked sites available. How easy is it to use a proxy? About a single Google search or browser extension away, rendering the whole blocking exercise (not to mention its cost) redundant. It is unfortunate that our esteemed judiciary and government servants are so technologically challenged that they probably cannot understand this basic problem even if it is written for them on paper.

Next is the more troubling ‘saying yes to banning porn is saying yes to state oppression’. Banning porn is a slippery slope to say the least. This government is already known to block websites in the name of such open ended phrases as ‘national interest’ so do we really want to give them allowance to censor us further with the (mis)use of the words ‘obscenity’ and ‘pornography’? Who gets to define what is obscene and what is pornography? Is Titian’s Venus of Urbino pornography? And if so, should we block Wikipedia and ban all import of Encarta Encyclopedia CDs, as that is where I first saw this masterpiece at age 14? What is obscene? Is Sex and the City obscene? It may be to our rabid mullah folk, and since they have the upper hand in this country devastated by politicized religion, can we expect a ban on YouTube in any number of very real dystopian future scenarios? Most certainly, such oppression is just a step away from banning porn.

This brings us to the most worrying and saddening aspect of the decision to block porn — that of the floundering, decaying, most pathetic creature that has become our national identity. What does this attempt to ban and block porn say about us? Does it suggest that we are stupid and ignorant? Does it suggest that we are infantile, delusional and very naïve; given that we do not even see that the issue is not the availability of porn online, but the demand that exists for it? Yes, it does. Does it suggest that we are unabashedly willing to stab ourselves in the foot again and again?

It seems that way, given that we have not learnt anything about how our government and courts may ban anything unannounced, indefinitely, from Baloch news sites to Rolling Stone magazine to SMSs about finger food and athletes foot. This to me is the most tragic aspect of the ongoing ban and blockage of porn: the fact that is speaks of a nation that is moving backwards; immature and proud of it to boot. It is a dangerous state to be in, and one any sane person should fight against.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (104)

  • Shokeen
    Feb 12, 2012 - 10:16PM

    Despite banning of porn sites by PTCl, i still continue to watch porn online. Really a futile exercise.

    Recommend

  • Usman
    Feb 12, 2012 - 10:18PM

    They’ll realize their folly when incidents of rape sky rocket! Wait, no, they’ll just ban that too since a ban is supposed to solve everything.

    Recommend

  • Fawad
    Feb 12, 2012 - 10:41PM

    LOL….Porn is still EASILY accessible…proxy and tunneling software like “Your Freedom” and “Tor” make accessing porn sites mere child’s play. Someone please give our Judiciary and politicians some basic lectures on how to use a computer in the 21st century.

    Recommend

  • Pinky
    Feb 12, 2012 - 10:47PM

    oh come on! its not totally an exercise in futility…at least the really young kids (who are not aware of the proxy servers) can be shielded…

    and just because demand can not be lowered doesnt mean that supply shouldnt be curtailed..go ask anti-narcotics ppl :)

    Recommend

  • Aamna Hassan
    Feb 12, 2012 - 11:28PM

    Ironic, people dont ponder over abandoning porn rather giving justifications just like I did when LHA banned facebook.

    Recommend

  • Patriotic
    Feb 12, 2012 - 11:35PM

    @Pinky: there’s a thing called Google that’ll instantly tell those “really young kids” what proxies are and how to use them. Plus, it is futile. Rape/molestation/harassment rates really will skyrocket; It’s really textbook psychology to predict it. Pakistan is really digging a grave for itself. :(

    Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Feb 12, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Well personally i think watching porn is a personal freedom for an adult. What the judiciary could have done was to make sure that all the ISPs provide a basic content filtering/family safety feature for free to their customers so that minors could be protected from harmful effects of porn.

    Recommend

  • General
    Feb 12, 2012 - 11:48PM

    Can someone explain the intelligence in blocking http://www.freedownloadmanager.org ?

    Recommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:10AM

    Going by your logic, we should also not ban drugs, cigarettes. Let the people decide whether they want it or not!!
    Societies get destroyed when in the name of freedom, these things are allowed.

    Recommend

  • Mj
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:38AM

    @Pinky:
    ‘Think of the children’ is the lamest justification in the books. Don’t want your kids to watch porn? Install content filtering software. Every family has a geek who knows this stuff. Ask him about it if you are a technophobe. There is no excuse. It is not the job of the government to babysit kids at their own homes.

    Recommend

  • Noman
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:39AM

    So your point is, the ban should be reverted and everything ll be great?
    The only argument you have is: It’s not gonna work. Lets not have the ban. WTH!!
    You call it state oppression which makes no sense. The government is blocking access to something it deems inappropriate for people (especially kids) and it’s doing so because you gave it that right. How’s that a form of state oppression?
    Your article is as hard to agree with as it is for the porn addicts to think about greater good.

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:50AM

    Good article.
    The less restrictions put on society the better it is for the healthy growth of that society.
    Awareness levels and education must improve, restrictions never was and never will be the answer.

    Recommend

  • omar
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:04AM

    @Muhammed Usama Aziz:
    people are intelligent enough to decide for themselves. they don’t need someone bullying them to act in their own best interest. it’s a waste of government time and resources considering the numerous more important issues in pakistan today.

    Recommend

  • ned
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:15AM

    Hi Jahanzaib,

    You’ll remember me as having had a conversation with you on feminism online some time back. As you might expect, I deeply dislike the vast majority of pornographic images out there since they are deeply demeaning to women, an omission in your article that I must call you out on. It doesn’t take much more than common sense to see that much if not most pornography is designed for a male gaze in which women are stripped of their dignity and volition, and personally I’m much more worried about the contents of porn itself rather than the consequences of a ban on it (which as you say is unrealizable in practice anyway).

    In short, while I agree with you that trying to ban porn websites or to control the Internet is ultimately never going to work (I myself have easily gotten around all sorts of website bans when I needed to in order to access websites on Baloch nationalism or critical of Islam or whatever), I think that you should balance out your anti-ban liberalism with at least some concern for the effects of pornography on male-female relations in the wider culture.

    By the way, legal definitions of dehumanizing pornography that violates the dignity of individuals (i.e. constituting a form of hate speech) and especially of women have long been out there in the legal literature. You should look them up. PM me on Facebook if you want sources.

    Recommend

  • ned
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:17AM

    Usman said: “They’ll realize their folly when incidents of rape sky rocket! Wait, no, they’ll just ban that too since a ban is supposed to solve everything.”

    This is terrific. So, pornography and sex work are necessary so that men don’t rape women. I.e. let’s have an underclass of women for men to rape and watch being raped, so that men don’t rape other “respectable” women. Your moral compass, Usman, needs a little adjusting, methinks.

    Recommend

  • Moz
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:31AM

    @Pinky

    it’s not govt’s job to babysit your children, it is your job as a parent to protect your children from harm. And frankly a babysitter will charge your money by an hour, r u going to pay gov’t for this which relies heavily on American aid.

    Recommend

  • Syme
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:33AM

    You can always lend a DVD or CD from corner video shop:P

    Recommend

  • Moz
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:34AM

    @ned

    I don’t need taliban PTA to stop me from watching what I watch. It is none of your business.

    Recommend

  • ned
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:35AM

    ET — I hope you’re planning on publishing my longer comment. You’ll be hearing from me if you don’t. I think I raised some important issues in it. If the comment needs some editing/adjusting, let me know.

    Recommend

  • Komal
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:39AM

    Is this article for real, or is it a joke? This is one of the worst defenses of keeping porn legal that I’ve read. One of your main ‘arguments’ is a slippery slope fallacy, or else a pretend ignorance about what porn really is. The laws in various societies DO specify what porn is. There’s actually plenty of literature out there which defines and discusses pornography. Have you, the author, read any of it? Have you, for example, read the Dworkin-Mackinnon ordinance which actually provides a detailed list of criteria for something counting as porn, and a definition? This is such a badly researched article I am almost dumbfounded.

    Also: agree 100% with ‘ned’. The idea that raping women in porn is okay so that other women aren’t raped is beyond misogynistic. This is seriously disturbing.

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:23AM

    @ all the so called liberal peeps out there!! When Iran bans these websites you guys jump up and down happy and when pakistani govt bans this you go against them… 2 faced disease you people have!! Anything the Govt. does you go against it!!

    PS. You guys elected this PPP govt and Mr Zordari so now deal with it!!

    Recommend

  • Cynical
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:11AM

    There is a simple solution.Just ban computers.After all there were no computers 1400 years ago and that was not a hindrance for god to deliver his message to the choosen one.

    Recommend

  • omar
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:13AM

    @ned:

    rape

    what rape? those women have consent. they only become an underclass if you turn them into one. you’re creating a strawman because you have no solid argument of your own.if you read what usman said, you’ll see that what he was really saying is that is pointless to legislate moral vices and that it takes government attention away from more important issues. all the bans in the world won’t change human nature.

    We don’t have proper schools or hospitals in this country and living standards are terrible but the government would rather focus on trivial garbage like this rather than more important issues. i’m an adult and i don’t need the government to treat me like a child. Why more people aren’t saying this is beyond me. I would rather the government take steps to battle hate speech against non-muslims and minorities (Something far more harmful for impressionable children). Am i wrong?

    Recommend

  • omar
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:19AM

    i love how this country can tolerate obnoxious hate speech and calls to violence by our bearded friends but gets prudish over something as mundane as pornography. surely the former is more harmful for your children? This “issue” combined with the maya khan fiasco makes me think everyone has the wrong priorities. the government is less of an ally trying to help me out and more like some nosy auntie looking over my shoulder to see what web sites i’m going to. it’s complete insanity.

    Recommend

  • Malik Rashid
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:28AM

    Great article Jehanzaib. Condemning others for sex is worse than racism. Racists condemn those with a different skin color but sex-moralists dehumanize others for the same thing they themselves like to do. With sex-education and freedom, humans will break the pleasure and guilt cycle that medieval morality had built around sex.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:30AM

    To be honest I watch porn daily. I have signed up for a high speed proxy for $2 a month. I don’t understand why do people want to impose their own beliefs on others. Where you think porn is wrong, I think the opposite. Please let me watch porn. I’m an individual who has the right to see what he wants to, and please dont come up with mullah comments like “Should we let you murder you if you want to” That would be a lame argument to come up with because im not doing that”

    Recommend

  • ss
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:48AM

    I think you are mixing facts with fiction. True that there are various outlets on the internet, but banning porn sites ‘strangling’ the internet.. I doubt so. Porn sites are banned in China too (amongst other things). It will depend on how the ban is imposed. As far as deciding what exactly is porn, I think that is very clear and there are hardly any grey areas. However, it is true that PTA may use it as form of suppression… but again like you said, even if they do it, there will be other means for users to counter that suppression, right, Jahanzaib?

    Recommend

  • ned
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:21AM

    For the folks above — what I interpreted Usman as saying was that without pornography or prostitution, most men would be out indiscriminately raping women. That’s a common argument made by people to defend pornography and prostitution, especially in South Asia, one that is deeply insulting to women, but that also assumes that men are rapists by nature (which makes it not just misogynistic, but also misandrist). This point of view — held mostly by men — views women in pornography and prostitution as an underclass. Such men would obviously never allow their wives, daughters, sisters, etc. to be involved in the sex industry.

    Moreover, what I said about men watching women being raped in pornography referred to the simple fact that much mainstream pornography depicts the degradation and humiliation of women (those of you who watch it should know what I mean). There is some niche alternative pornography that is less anti-woman, but much of it is pretty woman-hating. So that’s what I meant. If I misread Usman’s statement and he was saying something else, then the argument does not apply.

    My longer comment at ET was not approved for some reason, so I’ll repeat a few things here.

    No, the PTA is obviously not informed by any kind of genuine concern for women in wanting to ban pornographic sites nor are they informed by the kinds of clear-cut legal definitions of hate speech that you find in Western democracies — they’re just being authoritarian as per usual. And yes, trying to effect an outright ban of pornography might never work anyway since it’s easy to get around them. But what I was critiquing was the writer’s and other commenters’ blasé attitude toward the effects of pornography on women’s rights, and their ignorance of the actual debates going on in academia around these topics. As Komal pointed out above, there is a rich and varied debate in the literature on political liberalism about whether or not certain types of pornography constitute hate speech (in the sense of encouraging violence and violating people’s dignity, especially women’s dignity), and strong arguments have been made to that effect. Rather precise legal definitions of hate speech and pornography that qualifies as hate speech have also been developed. Try reading them some day.

    The argument that as long as there is a demand, there will be a supply, is absurd. There used to be a demand for slavery as well. Should we not have banned slavery? There is still a demand for human trafficking as well. Should we not ban human trafficking? There is a demand for narcotic drugs also. Should we legalize those as well? If you want to argue against bans on hardcore pornographic websites, at least base your arguments on sound premises.

    All the defenders of “freedom” here have probably never even read liberal political theory in their lives and think liberalism = the freedom to satisfy every personal egotistical, selfish desire they have. Good on you for proving the religious fundamentalists right, by the way.

    There are also, by the way, various policy positions in between outright bans and total libertarianism. For instance, did you know that there is a policy in the UK that tries to nudge people to not watch hardcore pornography by making ISP’s block such sites by default, but allowing people access if they explicitly call up their ISP’s and tell them they want to opt-out of the blocking scheme and have access to explicit content? This is happening in a Western liberal democracy — indeed, in the birthplace of political liberalism.

    Recommend

  • Amir Rashid
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:55AM

    they banned porn streaming – so i downloaded it.. in HD… the country, as always, spending its time pursuing futile causes while ignoring the many others that slow and painfully eat away at the countries soul..

    Recommend

  • Aamir
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Our religion bind us to stop nonsense and anything against our religion by force or otherwise. This is the responsibility put on us through Quran with crystal clear instructions. We should be fully aware of our responsibilities to save our culture and ethics and to save our next generation.

    Recommend

  • Wasim
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:04AM

    If UAE can block all websites of this type, why Pakistan cannot. Why it is ban in UAE, China, Malaysia and many other countries???

    Recommend

  • Mani
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:11AM

    Dear Mr. Jahanzaib,
    i beg to differ with your opinion, See it is not about who gets access to porn and who doesnt, let me put it this way; Murderers will always find a way to kill, The Corrupt will always find a way to lie and cheat and whoever wants to find porn will find it, the point is about making a statement that its wrong and we do not want porn to corrupt our children. if your not blocking it you are just saying its ok. Ask around the families who are scared of allowing their children more time on the internet just because they are scared what their kids might see whats easily out in the open. i know its easy to bypass proxies and there are always new sites emerging everyday but at least i will be satisfied that my 4 year old will not find something accidentally like a pornographic pop-up or something. And last but not the least… it does not make sense blaming it on incompetency, if UAE can do it so can PAKISTAN.

    Recommend

  • Ali Hasan
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:29AM

    As expected, this article becomes one of ETs more hotly commented on pieces. Since this is one of the most important issues in the eyes of the Pakistani nation online. Our obsession with controversy and moral policing matters lives on.

    Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:30AM

    Curiosity provoked when you try to hide something. I assume that the author try to indicate, when you are trying to block few category of sties which are multiplying, due process it may end up in affecting the normal internet traffic and difficulty for regular internet users, might be too technical for some readers, author could have simplified it by elaborating little bit.

    Recommend

  • Random
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:32AM

    I’m all for keeping porn accessible on the internet – it keeps some men at home in front of our computers venting our frustrations, rather than harassing women. Its an outlet and hasnt been linked to rape/molestation and harassment.

    Recommend

  • Still Listening
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:41AM

    Please ban adulterated and counterfeit medicines which are openly sold in Pakistan, also thousands of quakes who are making huge money so the patients go to poorly paid young doctors.

    Recommend

  • mfg hUSAAIN
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:41AM

    @ Muhammed Usama Aziz and @Pinky
    The war on drugs was lost a long time back, just look at our societies. But reactionaries like you don’t understand a simple fact, educating the individual to choose is the only way forward, and societies have never been destroyed due to “immorality”.Recommend

  • mir
    Feb 13, 2012 - 12:02PM

    because the state is unable to control on crimes on streets, it has come online, state opression started from banning baloch websites, now porns, next they will ban websites of religious minorities ultimately it will lead to blocking sites which raise voices against state opression.

    Recommend

  • MMK
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:14PM

    @Random
    dont you have any other job. Either just sit in front of computer and watch the porn movies otherwise harassing the women. Baita khuch parh lo, avhey kam kar lo, insaniat ki khidmat karlo. save your enrgy for your future life.

    Recommend

  • Mj
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:20PM

    @Wasim:
    “If UAE can block all websites of this type, why Pakistan cannot. Why it is ban in UAE, China, Malaysia and many other countries???”

    If North Korea can ban the whole internet, why can’t Pakistan?

    Recommend

  • Kazim Ali
    Feb 13, 2012 - 1:55PM

    Various “relatively” open countries, like UAE and Turkey, does have effective restriction in-place. The argument that it would not work may not be entirely correct. Of course there are always bypasses. However, placing such restrictions would, at least, restrict unabated and “accidental” access to such sites, especially for immature minds. In my opinion, a meaningful restriction, such as the ones placed in UAE and Turkey, should be implemented and then let the enthusiasts explore the possibilities to make their own ways. This is not a violation of principles of “Free Will”. Isn’t it?

    Recommend

  • Nabiha Meher Shaikh
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:12PM

    ET why hasn’t Ned’s long comment been approved? How exactly has it violated community guidelines? Or is tribune now going to silence radical feminist discourse and critiques? Trolls are allowed to spew venom but feminists can’t give valid feedback?

    Feel like saying “mufti sb, yeh kya baat hui?” to you guys.

    Recommend

  • Nabiha Meher Shaikh
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:21PM

    It’s too problematic to place a blanket ban in a country where porn isn’t defined. Add to that the fact that this is moral policing. Had this ban been about women’s well being I would have agreed, but it never was.

    Recommend

  • Jahanzaib Haque
    Feb 13, 2012 - 2:30PM

    Dear all,

    Just to expand on my oped, im anti-ban, not anti-regulation of porn, in fact, Im in favor of strict regulation of porn as ive written about its dangers before, vis a vie exploitation of women (though on a more direct criminal level; it does also apply in terms of depiction as well):

    DO READ:

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/140379/the-masala-menace-online/

    Recommend

  • Wisk
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:09PM

    How in the world does watching porno contribute to the progress of ANY country?? :s
    Good riddance !! it was a visual monstrosity that was turning our youth into perverted zombies !

    Recommend

  • Wajid
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:14PM

    It is a wonderful step in right direction. After analysis of the results, the policy can be improved as well. Many software to unblock such sites do not work in Saudia. So in Pakistan as well, such policy can be enforced and the training can be provided to parents as well to keep little children away from such content like in West.

    Recommend

  • Mujtaba
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:20PM

    @Admin: Stop worrying about bigger problem or smaller problems! Middle eastern countries are doing it so why cant Pakistan????

    Recommend

  • Sena
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:36PM

    A slippery slope, indeed. There are so many things I want to say. But I’m sat here shaking my head and thinking this is brilliant.

    Recommend

  • Gath A. D'Silva
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:41PM

    Bravo; Jahanzaib Haque, on an article well written, along with the bravery of being one of the very few men out there who’d even think, let alone execute such a ‘taboo’ topic especially within Pakistan.

    You do make several valid points, most of which inter relate among themselves or go on to branch out to other factors that may be effected should such a predicament befall the state.

    In addition to all that has already been pointed out, the need to say ‘no’ is most vital above all things and which most often is not completely practiced by people who have time to point out errors and faults of others but who haven’t the time to hold their hand up to say ‘no’ to any element that may nurse injury or cause damage, thus preventing what the world believes of Pakistan as becoming if not being a progressive state.

    As citizens, let’s say ‘no’ to all elements that may hold us back, preventing progress, success, education and most of all freedom of expression.

    Recommend

  • Hamo
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:44PM

    What an individual prefers to watch in his/her free time is completely their own business and the government has/should have nothing to do with it. Its everyones personal choice and as stated above those who want to watch porn still have access to it so no point in blocking it. Every individual has a right to their personal space and by poking their nose where it isnt needed the government is just giving the public another reason to revolt against it.

    Recommend

  • Osama
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:45PM

    Democracy means freedom..if i want to watch porn, let me!! I am an adult and I know what i want for myself..stop dictating me u judges n mullahs

    Recommend

  • Kafka
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:48PM

    Dear Jehanzeb, blocking porn is futile….. would you let your ten years old brother/sister etc browse “strange” (read porn) sites on your family PC? You will make an attempt to stop it even though futile. That is what the state is trying to do.

    Recommend

  • Haibat
    Feb 13, 2012 - 3:49PM

    I think everyone should have the freedom to do whatever they want to do. Our society has this misplaced sense of morality where it believes it has the right to control the lives of others. I believe neither porn nor drugs for that matter should be banned (and that includes alcohol and heroin). If someone wants to watch porn, let them. If someone else thinks that porn objectifies women then they are entitled to their opinion but that does not give them the right to control the lives of others. On the drugs matter, I believe that everyone has the right to use and abuse drugs as long as they do not affect the lives of others. Legalize every drug out there and we will also be able to generate a lot of revenue. Doing so will also reduce the cash inflow of the Taliban. I hope i have made my point clear by now but if not im trying to say that we as a society are intruding way too much into the basic freedoms of people

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:11PM

    Funnily enough I have found new websites after this restriction as applied. I have found BETTER websites. Thankyou PTCL, you made me work harder on finding nice stuff.

    Recommend

  • Hot n Bothered
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:18PM

    @Fawad:
    Thanks mate, appreciate the suggestions. Downloading Your Freedom as we speak. Porn here I come!Recommend

  • Syed Ata Mehdi
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:34PM

    The only difference they can make is that no porn for children, make it harder for them to get the proxy softwares and use them. Unlimited porn sites for every one is certainly not recommended. A child of age 10 to 12 should not have any access to porn sites and it is difficult for them to understand and get proxy softwares and use them

    Recommend

  • Random
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:54PM

    Is there something we can do about this? or anything for that matter? Can you people please put forward some solutions?

    Recommend

  • MMK
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:01PM

    @Osama
    why dont you go to that country where everthjing is free and according to your taste also.
    no one will bother you even not your parents, but why those country also do not allow to live nacked like animal. very backward countries, they should not stop peoples to move undressed. Why dont we raise our voice to create a country like that, one can live with his own wishes. What do you think?

    Recommend

  • Noman
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:05PM

    @ Hamo It’s not. The government has a right to intervene. You gave it that right, remember? Next time, vote for someone who’d let you watch child pornography.

    Since everyone here knows how the proxies work, why the fuss?

    Recommend

  • Ali Wali
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:14PM

    Porn is anti romance.

    Recommend

  • sajid
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Porn is vile and disgusting. In pakistan according to google the most searched porn was RAPE VIDEOS.
    However I really doubt that its going to make Pakistani men any less tharki really really doubt it.

    Recommend

  • Noman
    Feb 13, 2012 - 5:30PM

    @Osama ”Democracy means freedom” Haha. Joke of the week.Recommend

  • MMK
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:03PM

    Quote:
    It can’t be left on individual that he/she will decide what is good and what is not good. Its is responsibilites of parents, teachers, educational institutions & state to build the well character individuals who will be able to run country. Of course how a worst character individual will run the country. Hence if state is doing a job to keep bar on some sites that are not good for their youngsters, it is good job, they must restrict more effeciently & in better way.
    The peopels who supports to keep open and leave on individuals to decide are basically sick and they are mentally sick. (jao jaldi sey shadi karo aur mazey karo).why waste time in khurafat. if one involve in this act basically he/she spoil him/herself and even after that can study well, cant give respect to opposite sex as required and lateron it goes further and involve further in animal acts.
    Do you like this type of nation to be grown. Watch on wetsern countries who, in the name of freedom, are involve in this business, they are going far from relgion, their youngsters are not having higher education just after matriculation or higher schools they are fedup for further studies and having girl/boy freinds without marriage and staying lonley and spend lives. No care & respect for their parents.
    If see with religious point of view, then also it is sin of your body parts, e.g. sin of your eyes, evil acts, doing act that doesnt allow by religion.
    Recommend

  • Lindsay
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:09PM

    The biggest problem with censorship is * * * * * * *.

    Recommend

  • Feb 13, 2012 - 6:12PM

    The word porn defines itself, no need to get in a rather useless discussion, backing ip porn is obsence and low morally, of course there lies a point of kinda purchasing women in the market and the point of consent is absurd too as the money justifies it all, and yes, thumbs up PTA, u do need to devise a whole strategy to restrict porn, of course many of us know the proxy stuff bt a minor and a layman doesnt, so what can be done should be done to stop ths corruption of minds

    Recommend

  • Feb 13, 2012 - 6:19PM

    @Pinky:
    Now they’ll just learn to use proxy at an earlier age. When there’s a will, there’s a way, and its all just google away :P

    Recommend

  • Noman
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:20PM

    ”There is considerable disagreement, among social science researchers as well as liberal and feminist philosophers, about whether pornography is a cause of violent sexual crime (see Donnerstein et al. 1987, Copp and Wendell 1983, Itzin 1992). Both the final report of the Commission of Obscenity and Pornography in the U.S. in 1970 and the Williams Committee Report into Obscenity and Film Censorship in the U.K. surveyed the data from clinical and experimental trials then available and found no evidence of a causal connection between pornography and rape (although the 1970 Commission did not review the evidence concerning sexually violent material). However, the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in the U.S., which submitted its final report in 1986, found that the clinical and experimental research ‘virtually unanimously’ shows that exposure to sexually violent material increases the likelihood of aggression toward women; and that “the available evidence strongly supports the hypothesis that substantial exposure to sexually violent materials…bears a causal relationship to antisocial acts of sexual violence and, for some subgroups, possibly to unlawful acts of sexual violence” (Mappes and Zembaty 1997: 215). The report also found that non-violent but degrading pornographic material produced effects “similar to, although not as extensive as that involved with violent material””

    SEP. No me.

    Recommend

  • Random
    Feb 13, 2012 - 6:55PM

    Yap yap Yap

    1 – Porn and rape are not linked,
    2 – Its a try, does not mean it is perfect. but its a direction. If you have a problem, move to somewhere else. Germany perhaps.
    3 – Porn is an addiction, once you get addicted you tend to move away from more healthy activities like sports.
    4 – People do not get over porn. Even when they are married. Can lead to marital problems specially if there is a difference between the value system of the husband and wife
    5 – Last i heard Pakistan was still a muslim country, and Porn is not exactly legal in our religion. For those who don’t care or rather are opposed to notion of Islam as a living principle. Immigrate to somewhere else.. And do write this as the reason for Migration…Recommend

  • Oumayer
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:09PM

    Banning anything in Pakistan specifically makes it a more sought after product. Hence, banning porn websites is only going to increase our demand for it.

    Secondly, it will make the porn seekers seek other ways of defying the ban.

    and thirdly…..

    Porn does have it´s good side…. c´mon you all know what am talking about !!!!

    Recommend

  • Talat Haque
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:14PM

    It is not about porn – ban or not – but about growing up, being mature and responsible. Once we grow up we will learn to think straight and have class…………..to let people grow and develop you cannot place a ban – give them the freedom to make value judgments …………let them discover respect for women and men – for all human beings.

    Recommend

  • Straight Fire
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:21PM

    Internet has been proved of no use in Pakistan … Only one ‘Afia Kareem’ have been produced by this nation in a decade and every next person only use this medium for watching sexual contents.

    Internet should only be accessible to technical geniuses of the nation and it should be banned to all other civilians and cheap minded people.

    Recommend

  • omar
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:28PM

    @Mani:
    maybe you could learn how to set up parental countries and watch your child rather than waste government resources on such a wide oppressive policy?

    Recommend

  • javed butt
    Feb 13, 2012 - 7:49PM

    @ned:
    wow. . if a woman chooses to be in porn, thats her right. this woman is a member of mensa and has an iq of 165 but she still does porn because she wants to.
    read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Carrera

    it’s nowhere near as black and white as you are making it and there is a very sharp line between slavery and pornography. Plus you’re trying to use some slippery slope argument as well. The moral argument against slavery is lot more powerful than the one against porn. the two have nothing in common and its absurd to suggest they do. please stop hijacking this discussion for feminist propaganda. i’ve met girls who watch and enjoy porn. its no big deal. really you’re not any different from maya khan and the bearded moral police. go to australia and america and see how women are treated there compared to here. its ironic that societies that ALLOW porn have much better rights for women than our glorious land of the pure. get off your high horse.

    Recommend

  • Feb 13, 2012 - 8:01PM

    ned,

    You need to take into consideration that this is a legit industry (in many countries), and the performers participate voluntarily in these productions. Remember that feminism is about choice. If you start telling these actresses what they can and cannot do based on your own perceptions on what’s degrading and what’s dignified, you’re defeating the purpose of the movement yourself.

    Also, a legit porn industry can be influenced by the public reactions. As the feminist movement continues to influence the public, the porn industry itself has to evolve to comply with the consumers’ demands. The more atrocious categories like “rape porn” are rapidly disappearing, and almost all porn films these days have female stars with more powerful roles than the male actors, with the former always initiating the “performance”.

    The point is that it’s the public that needs to be educated so it starts demanding a healthier sexual outlet as opposed to misogynistic pornographic imagery you mentioned.

    Recommend

  • Fahad Siddiqui
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:15PM

    @ned:
    you should blog this

    Recommend

  • javed butt
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:36PM

    @Random:

    do you have citations on any of those dubious claims? maybe i should immigrate. I’ll write “I’m leaving because my country is full of holier than thou who shrug their shoulders at horrific violence and corruption but become the moral arbitrators of society over something as stupid as porn”. look at your own country my friend. just take a walk in lahore or karachi and tell me if porn is an issue. PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY CAN’T EVEN AFFORD COMPUTERS OR READ FOR GODS SAKE. WHO THE HELL CARES ABOUT SOMETHING THIS STUPID? if you were trying to make me angry you’ve done a good job. Apparently by opposing big brother moral policing that wastes government time and resources I’m some kind of porn addict. bravo for that miracle of logic my friend. There are millions of people in this country who don’t have access to food or an education or a safe living environment. i care about them. I don’t care about some idiot looking at porn after a hard days work. Never-mind Jinnah said you could be a non muslim and live in Pakistan. I suppose researching your own history is too hard. if the government does go through with this, i want it to ban all hate speech against minorities and non muslims as well. I want it to ban any beard who starts talking about womens rights or tries to advocate war. I find that just as offensive as pornography so why not? it’s against islam as well so i see no reason why we shouldn’t extend the ban? as even a child could see, the amount of things someone could classify as offensive can broaden very quickly. it could be porn today but tomorrow it could be opposing political views. use your common sense. I don’t give a damn if my neighbors Recommend

  • Hamo
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:43PM

    @Noman: a) I’m saving my vote for someone deserving so no I didnot vote for this government and b) Electing a government doesnot mean we have given them the right to invade our personal space so I stand by my words the government should poke its nose where it really is needed and not in peoples bedrooms!

    Recommend

  • Hagat
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:47PM

    So if the people of Pakistan were rated as the highest porn website seekers on google, the statistics were so right.

    Recommend

  • javed butt
    Feb 13, 2012 - 8:55PM

    @Komal:
    if you’d read the comments you would see that he is anti ban but not anti regulation. Slippery slopes can be a fallacy but in this case giving the government power to do this can set precedents to ban anything else the majority finds unlikable such as political opinions. It gets into censorship and becomes completely antithetical to a civilized democracy. don’t like porn? don’t look at it. I can think of several things on pakistani airwaves far FAR more offensive than porn. i find people with long beards offensive and consider their propaganda to be poison to our country but you don’t see me yelling for a ban because i trust the pakistani people to be intelligent enough to make their own decisions.

    @Wasim:
    why would you want to be anything like those countries? don’t you want to be free to make your own decisions? why do you trust your corrupt and unhelpful government so much?

    @Ali Hasan:
    hahaha. its sad unfortunately.

    @Mj:
    please tell me you’re joking. you want to live like north koreans do?
    @Kazim Ali:
    it absolutely is. Practice better parenting rather than have the state do it for you.Recommend

  • Amna
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:28PM

    really pseudo liberals? Is porn watching really going to make us a better society? Im all for the ban, its about time WE influence our decisions versus copying everything the West decides to do.

    Recommend

  • smj
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:39PM

    it will results in less addicts and week in my knees awam. Make it harder to access surely results in dumb Munna playing outside with beautiful birds rather studying in locked room for hours.

    Recommend

  • Omer Bajwa
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:47PM

    @Pinky:

    The only thing that the narcotics people do is to drive up the cost of the drugs on the street. ANF seizures account for around 0.5% of drug trafficked (please read ANF’s and UNODC’s report on this)

    Same applies to porn argument. Do please read the article above

    Recommend

  • Omer Bajwa
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:53PM

    Another problem that the author didnt mention is that when PTA blocks enough nodes, it slows down the internet overall. That in my business means lost productivity. Not only do I pay around a quarter of my income in taxes (yes I am one of the 480,000 individuals who pay taxes and my company is one of the 20,000 that paid taxes last year), I now have diminished income because we cant find competent bureaucrats for PTA or thinking judges for Lahore High Court

    Recommend

  • Omer Bajwa
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:55PM

    @Komal:

    Its not about legalizing porn. Its about the futility of banning it online. There is a difference

    Recommend

  • Omer Bajwa
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:57PM

    @Syed Ata Mehdi:

    Mehdi sahib. Which “limited” porn sites are you then recommending for your children. Perhaps you should read the article. The author discussed an interesting concept

    Recommend

  • javed butt
    Feb 13, 2012 - 9:58PM

    @Amna:
    who the hell is copying? it’s common sense that porn is a non issue. don’t try to make this into some clash of civilizations. i’ll tell you what will make us a better society. freedom of thought and less censorship without trying to suppress our freedom. i always love how you conservatives claim we’re copying the west whenever you start losing an argument. I would encourage you to actually visit a western country one day rather than hearing propaganda about them.Recommend

  • zullu
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:29PM

    I would say that ban on all porn sites will be very healthy for our society and it is possible ( we have UAE/Saudi as examples )……it will at least make it difficult for the children to get access……….let the self proclaimed Geeks use proxies if they want to….

    Recommend

  • ned
    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:47PM

    Thanks for clarifying your position, Jahanzaib. I’m also in favour of regulation and soft paternalistic options, but some kinds of really extreme pornography can be classified as a type of hate speech.

    Recommend

  • Noman
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:23PM

    @Javed Butt. ”PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY CAN’T EVEN AFFORD COMPUTERS OR READ FOR GODS SAKE. WHO THE HELL CARES ABOUT SOMETHING THIS STUPID?” You do. why else would you so enthusiastically comment?

    @Hamo Until that happens, be content. Stop using this page as an outlet to vent against ‘moral policing’ because that’s what governments are entitled to.
    The state is justified in using its coercive power to uphold and enforce a community’s moral convictions and to prevent citizens from engaging in activities that offend prevailing community standards of morality and decency.Governments also have a responsibility to prevent citizens from harming themselves.The state is also entitled to interfere with the freedom of mentally competent adults against their will for their own good.

    Recommend

  • the only rationalist left
    Feb 13, 2012 - 11:51PM

    ah giving women the choice. I love watching rape pornography. Do I have the freedom to at least watch it? No, the liberal will now become a maya khan and preach me about “morals.”

    There are no morals, except those build by human brains. I refuse to accept the ones made by your mind.

    Recommend

  • javed butt
    Feb 14, 2012 - 12:18AM

    @Noman:
    well assuming you’re not trolling there could be plenty of reasons i’m commenting. for one thing, there is a comments section and i’m a pakistani so i have a right to speak my mind as i wish. Furthermore, it upsets me to see that people are happy to sign away their rights over some made up boogeyman of porn. Nice comeback though since it does absolutely nothing to combat any of the points i made.
    Certainly the state has those rights but we as citizens have the right to speak against abuses of power. perhaps you would like to sit passively in some bizarre 1984 dystopia but the rest of us have higher visions for our country. no one is disputing the rights of government to “enforce a communities moral convictions” (no matter how stupid they are) but the application is heavy handed and short sighted. there are far more important issues i would rather have government focus on. If censorship is now going to become a priority i would like them start censoring violence and hate mongering as well.

    Recommend

  • Komal
    Feb 14, 2012 - 12:32AM

    Interesting how liberals are giving us their Liberalism 101, as we’ve never thought about these issues before. ‘Have you considered that people volunteer to be in porn?’ ‘But it’s between consenting adults!’

    But of course we’ve NEVER considered THAT. It’s never crossed my mind, in the years I’ve been thinking about and researching this issue, in the millions of conversations I’ve had with people (pro- and anti-porn) on this issue, that people consent to participate in porn rolls eyes.

    Please keep up with the conversation about this. We’re not at square one of the conversation where we’re just discussing whether or not people consent to participate in porn. Anti-porn people know this already. The dialectic has moved on to a more nuanced and sophisticated place.

    Recommend

  • Giri
    Feb 14, 2012 - 1:18AM

    pron and pop-corn can never be banned

    Recommend

  • Farhan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:34AM

    Come on. Don’t tell me that “Sex and the City” is not obscene. It does not build society’s morals. It is just designed to sell

    Recommend

  • Farhan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:41AM

    I read your article with a lot of interest. However I am not sure, if you have seen “Sex and the City”. It is a highly obscene program with a lot of nudity and obsession about sex. This program is product of a capitalist interest to make money and not to build society’s moral values. Infact, we generally mix up debate of freedom with porn. Porn industry has far bigger budget than Hollywood and it is not run by liberals who believe in freedom but by capitalists who believe on making money, one way or the other. Though banning porn is a futile effort, not banning it is not productive either

    Recommend

  • Dan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:30AM

    Banning or censorship will not solve the problem, instead EDUCATE people, parents must teach their children and schools should run programs too to create awareness(not only about porn or sex) if the base is not strong no matter what you do even forcefully, will not help. So people can judge themselves what is good for them and whats’ not. It has nothing to do being liberal or conservative. We have to make our own choices not someone else imposing their will on us.

    Recommend

  • Larki Desi
    Feb 14, 2012 - 1:18PM

    im happy i live far away from this mess in Pakistan. I feel sorry for you ppl because the state is deciding what u should or should nort watch. The state wants you to be one track minded mind you this is not onlt about porn. its about freedom of thought.
    happy valentines day

    Recommend

  • Amna
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:50PM

    @javed butt: LOL @you thinking I have never visited the West. Don’t assume. And this isn’t clash of civilizations, nor am I hating on Western Countries. But like you just mentioned, Pakistanis should have freedom of speech and expression. THat doesnt mean they need to have porn, ok. If we go with what the majority of Pakistanis will want, you will get a ban on porn. Regardless of whether Pakistanis watch or not, they will support a ban. And that is what I am trying to get at here, just because the West doesnt ban it, does not mean our people are ignorant or backward to not want porn accessible in Pakistan.
    Anything Western countries think is okay= okay for our self proclaimed liberals.
    All I’m trying to say is Pakistanis need to make their OWN decisions and stand by them, whether they match with Western values or not. If something is futile, we will find out and fix it accordingly, we dont need people like you telling us that we need to copy the West right off the bat and not learn from our own mistakes.

    Recommend

  • Amna
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:57PM

    @ Javed Butt: Also for someone who really “cares” about the poor in Pakistan, and for those affected by the violence and human rights violations, you have spent an awful lot of time defending porn on this page. I really doubt you comment( or actively do anything) so strongly against other issues, but porn really seems to have struck a cord with you. Personally I feel you are just using poverty, human rights violations, and other social issues in Pakistan to divert attention from the porn issue. No doubt that these are definetly bigger issues, but apparently porn being banned is a bigger problem for you. You are no better then anyone else who has a “holier than thou” attitude in Pakistan. Yes, “liberals” can have it too. You don’t have to do anything to make a difference, but because you support porn and think its not as big of an issue as poverty, that makes you a better person, and more progressive?

    Recommend

  • Seriously Non-Serious
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:51PM

    @Writer

    Banning porn sites is an excellent decision by the govt. As young kids who are not that tech-savvy will be debarred from watching this stuff before their legal age of maturity i.e 18 years.
    However a major problem is that porn is still available on GPRS of mobile phones. Govt should pay heed to this also !!
    .
    .
    -1 for this article !

    Recommend

  • lahore
    Feb 15, 2012 - 1:54PM

    Porn site and all the other illegal thing to be should be banned. there is not justification of demand and supply,

    easy access made it vulnerable to ppl esp kids. its band in UAE, and china,

    Recommend

  • Bilal Anwar
    Feb 17, 2012 - 8:03PM

    “If the PTA somehow convinced our local ISPs to block all 327 million pages of porn, the filtering system would strangle all internet in Pakistan, not to mention, by the time such action was taken, there would probably be a million new porn sites out there.”
    If the problem is big is does not mean it should not be solved. Im strongly in favour of blocking porn website. And i dont consider it state oppression, will you ever protest publicly for your right to watch porn ? i mean in front of your elders and will you like it if your kids watch porn ?

    Recommend

  • aatif ehsan
    Mar 5, 2012 - 7:08AM

    It seems that there is no need to draft an ethical code in a civilized society….lets pose a simple but serious question…Are there merits of pornography or it leads to the decline of ethical fabric of society? We should define good and bad from the the consequences of actions…and porn movies are no healthy entertainment_an agreed fact….Please consider it as a counter narrative!

    Recommend

  • Saad
    Mar 23, 2012 - 5:46PM

    The argument that banning website would somehow slow down the internet is one of the most absurd statements that can be made. Each internet website lookup nowadays goes through goodness know how many transition and redirects to different servers. All these are of course, similar to a lookup of a website on a DNS list. Only an illiterate with no knowledge of internet working could say something like that.You probably wouldn’t even notice the delay.

    Evidence of this is the implementation of similar systems in a number of other countries (without any adverse affects on society, I might add…. in fact most of them are doing much better than we are, even without pornography).

    Having said that, it is true that proxying is pretty easy but that’s not the point. Locks are meant to keep unwilling thieves out. A dacoit doesn’t care about locks (as most Karachiites can attest to). A pervert will remain a pervert (and yes !! the urge to watch others fornicate does make one a pervert) and will surely find a way no matter how secure the defenses.

    The effectiveness of this is more towards those that are lured into pornography and not those who are actively searching for pornography. Although, I’m sure our government will find a way to screw everything up in the implementation.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan