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Lahore High court to Consider Permanent Ban on Facebook !

Lahore High court to Consider Permanent Ban on Facebook !

In Pakistan, blanket bans and censorship have been a regular feature. Since 2006, there have been instances where YouTube has been blocked, and more recently, Facebook. While the pretext is national security, the protection of Islam or the interest of the greater good, political motives have almost always been behind these acts.

There were many critics of those lobbying against the ban on Facebook ban in May 2010, the constant criticism being: It’s just a ban on Facebook, get over it. But actually, it wasn’t “just a ban.” It was about how we react to blasphemy, it was about the prevalent tendency to lynch others for what they say without hearing them out properly, without verifying, without giving second chances. It was about political appeasement, the use of religion for political purposes, and it was about the unconstitutional overstepping of authority by state institutions and departments. So it was not just about Facebook.

It was expected that the Facebook ban and Internet censorship chapter would not end just there, especially with the new media boom and current online practices. It was only to be expected that with the rapid proliferation of news and views, and the increased use of social networks not just for social interaction but also business, activism, fund-raising purposes or simply voicing one’s opinion, more crackdowns would follow.

The first red signal came with the out of the blue statement by Information Minister Rehman Malik saying he has taken “strong note of websites and SMS propagating anti-Islam agenda and ordered blockage of these websites within 24 hours.” He also ordered the Secretary Interior to trace all those websites “propagating against Islam,” and instructed him to register cases against the persons involved.

And now, until May 10, the Lahore High Court will look into the “record of previous petitions filed against the social networking website Facebook for blasphemous content,” reports the Express Tribune. This time, the LHC has been requested by the petitioners (Mohammad and Ahmad via Advocate Mohammad Azhar Siddique) to place a permanent ban on Facebook.

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