Monday, May 31, 2010

Facebook Ban and Govt. Censorship

Rebecca McKinson writes a blog post More problems in Facebookistan, here last paragraph quite aptly sums up the frustrations of the Muslim community as a whole – she says

This larger context also helps explain the extent to which moderate and cosmopolitan Muslim Facebook users who believe in free speech against censorship were so alienated and upset by the fact that Facebook allowed the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” page – which on the several occasions when I looked at it was full of obscene and gratuitous anti-Muslim hate speech – to stay up for more than a week. It’s well known that Facebook quickly takes down other racist and anti-semitic pages. Yet they allowed a page full of nastiness and hate against the Muslim faith to stay up.

Personally, I too cant stomach the fact that the Facebook administrators continue to deliberately allow such uncontrolled hatred to continue on their websites which is a direct violation of their terms of service, it seems they are keen to prove a point, push the limits of decency and be responsible to engage the world in a deliberate religious war. I continue to condemn the blasphemous cartoons and the hypocrisy of the Mark Zuckerberg but at the same time am fully against a blind outright censorship enforced by the government of Pakistan on the entire domain, if such images are not acceptable under the Constitution of Pakistan then a mere block on the particular pages and other subsequent pages should have been enough.

Read it all here.

Today was the day the Pakistan Government was to have lifted the block on Facebook. It has done so.

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- A Pakistani court ordered the government to lift a ban on Facebook Inc., the world’s No. 1 social networking service, 12 days after it blocked access to the website, according to a lawyer.

“Facebook assured the court no blasphemous material will be available to users in Pakistan,” Chaudhry Zulfiqar, the lawyer who asked the court to block Facebook on May 19, said by telephone from Lahore today. Palo Alto, California-based Facebook’s corporate communications department didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed enquiry.

The Lahore High Court ordered the ban on Facebook on May 20 and blocked Google Inc.’s YouTube video service a day later. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority also blocked 450 Web links for carrying objectionable material.

The ban began after a Facebook user started a competition asking participants to draw sketches of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. Creating images of the Prophet is prohibited in Islam.

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