Thursday, May 20, 2010

Die Facebook Die!!

The media, mullahs and many of the educated folk have hailed the Lahore High Court's decision to ban Facebook, Youtube and many other websites in Pakistan. The ban imposed in response to the drawing of blasphemous caricature is however, as unfortunate as the incident it self.

Bans are counter productive and in this instance they have set an extremely dangerous precedent. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) could have blocked selective links on both these sites but the Court ordered a blanket ban. Cutting the entire youth's social link from each other and rest of the world. Some quarters are now calling for a permanent ban while it is being reported that a further set of 450 sites including Orkut are going to be blocked. See the problem now?

This seemingly innocent act of Lahore High Court allows a ban on any material deemed against Islam. If the act goes unchallenged or uncorrected the precedent paves the way for future blocking of websites which are deemed un-Islamic if not anti-Islamic. Who shall decide what is un-Islamic? Given the state of our Courts, modeling, dance, music, secularism and a whole lot of other topics would make it to the list. Indeed bans and prohibitions are the first step towards a dystopia.

The law, if need be could be extended to include anything anti-Pakistan being banned, and we might soon discover blogs with dissenting opinions being blocked as was done with the Press not to long ago in this country. Comments about the establishment, courts, armed forces and ruling elite being censored and writers being rebuked even punished.

The imposition of blanket ban on websites is a cause for concern. The ban on Facebook needs to be reviewed and revoked. In this Islamic Republic of Pakistan, You Tube is banned, however, lay back and relax mates, why don't you tune into X Tube for a change!

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