Monday, May 31, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A computer user tries to open the Facebook website at an internet cafe in Islamabad. The Lahore High Court has ordered authorities to block Facebook temporarily over a competition encouraging users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on the social networking site. –AFP Photo/Aamir Quershi
WASHINGTON: Facebook is disappointed at being blocked in Pakistan over a contest that encourages users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and may make the offending page inaccessible to users there, the social network said late Wednesday.
“We are very disappointed with the Pakistani courts’ decision to block Facebook without warning, and suspect our users there feel the same way,” Facebook said in a statement to AFP.
“We are analyzing the situation and the legal considerations, and will take appropriate action, which may include making this content inaccessible to users in Pakistan,” it said.
Pakistan blocked access to Facebook on a court order over a competition created by a Facebook user who set up a page called “Draw Mohammed Day,” inviting people to send in caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on May 20.
Islam strictly prohibits depictions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) as blasphemous and Muslims around the world staged angry protests over the publication of satirical cartoons of the prophet in European newspapers in 2006.
The statement from the Palo Alto, California-based social network said “we want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.
“With now more than 400 million users from around the world, we sometimes find people discussing and posting about topics that others may find controversial, inaccurate, or offensive,” it said.
“While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone — criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example — that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion,” it said.
“We strongly believe that Facebook users have the freedom to express their opinions, and we don't typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.”
The statement noted that “Nazi content is illegal in some countries” but said “that does not mean it should be removed entirely from Facebook.”
“Most companies approach this issue by preventing certain content from being shown to users in the countries where it is illegal and that is our approach as well,” it added.
kistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because of its "growing sacrilegious content".
Access to the social network Facebook has also been barred as part of a crackdown on websites seen to be hosting un-Islamic content.
On Wednesday a Pakistani court ordered Facebook to be blocked because of a page inviting people to draw images of the Prophet Muhammad.
Some Wikipedia pages are also now being restricted, latest reports say.
Correspondents say it remains to be seen how successful the new bans will be in Pakistan and whether citizens find a way round them.
All Pakistanis are angry at the 'Draw Muhammad' competition
YouTube says it is "looking into the matter and working to ensure that the service is restored as soon as possible". The site was briefly blocked in Pakistan in 2008 - ostensibly for carrying material deemed offensive to Muslims.
Facebook said on Wednesday that the content did not violate its terms.
There have been protests in several Pakistani cities against the Facebook competition.'Derogatory material'
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said it had ordered internet service providers to "completely shut down" YouTube and prevent Facebook from being viewed within Pakistan.
It said the move came only after "all possible avenues" within its jurisdiction had been used.
Lahore, May 21 (ANI): Pakistani security agencies have blamed ‘hostile’ foreign intelligence agencies, particularly India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for creating trouble in Balochistan.
A confidential report, which has been sent to the Interior Ministry, has blamed these foreign agencies of targeting teachers and renowned educationists in Balochistan, which has long been affected by insurgency.
“After suicide bombing and terrorist attacks, they are targeting teachers and renowned educationists. Almost 80 per cent of the teaching staff in Balochistan belongs to Punjab, Sindh and Khyber PK provinces and hostile elements are threatening their lives to force them to relocate to other places,” The Nation quoted the report, as saying.
Sources, while quoting the secret report, said that the Indian spy agency is supplying hate literature in Balochi language to all schools and colleges across the troubled province.
The report also claimed that RAW has been recruiting young Baloch students and training them in guerrilla warfare to create trouble there.
“The Baloch students were cultivated through BSO hardliners by Indian RAW, taken to Kabul for indoctrination, given Afghan passports and trained in art of guerrilla warfare. India opened up Balochistan specific three consulates in Zahidan, Bandar Abbas and Ashkabad in Iran and established refugee camps for Balochistan dissidents in Kandahar, Spin Boldak, Helmand and Nimroz,” the report stated.
The report also said that India has opened many training centres across Afghanistan to prepare and send trained Baloch nationals to carry out activities against the country.
“India is running training centres in Kabul, Jalalabad, Khwaja Ghar (Takher Province), Khost, Paktia, Urgun, Khandar, Spin Boldak, Dranj (Badakhshan Province) where it’s military personnel in collaboration with RAW have been imparting training to the innocent Balochs against Pakistan,” it said. (ANI)
LAMABAD: Pakistan has blocked 800 web pages and URLs to limit access to “blasphemous” material, extending a crackdown that has already banned access to Facebook and YouTube, an official said Saturday.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) banned access to Facebook, YouTube and other links, which included restricted access to Wikipedia, in view of what it called “growing sacrilegious content” this week.
“At least 800 individual web pages and URLs have been blocked since the government's orders to shut Facebook and YouTube,” Wahaj us Siraj, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan told AFP.
Siraj's remarks came hours after the Facebook user who organised an “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” competition to promote “freedom of expression”evidently took down the page along with a separate blog about the campaign.
The competition sparked angry protests in Pakistan, a Muslim country of 170 million, although members of a well-educated, moderate elite expressed disappointment on the blanket ban on the wildly popular websites.
Siraj said that any decision to restore Facebook and YouTube access would be taken by the PTA.
The offending Facebook page attracted 105,000 fans - and five pages of crude manipulated pictures and caricatures. Pages denouncing the competition and calling for a boycott of the May 20 competition attracted far more fans.
PTA spokesman Khurram Mehran told AFP on Saturday that the authority would lift the ban only after receiving instructions from the government.
“We are just an implementing authority and we have to act on the orders from the government,” Mehran said.
Pakistan also briefly banned YouTube in February 2008 in a similar protest against “blasphemous” cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).