Pakistan Scans Google, Other Sites for Blasphemy

Asif Shahzad, Google News, June 26, 2010

Pakistan will monitor seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, to block anti-Islamic links and content, an official said Friday. Seventeen lesser-known sites are being blocked outright for alleged blasphemous material.

The moves follow Pakistan’s temporary ban imposed on Facebook in May that drew both praise and condemnation in a country that has long struggled to figure out how strict a version of Islam it should follow.

Both the Facebook ban and the move announced Friday were in response to court orders. The sites to be monitored include those of Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and its YouTube service, Amazon.com Inc. and MSN, Hotmail and Bing from Microsoft Corp., said Pakistan Telecommunication Authority spokesman Khurram Mehran.

“If any particular link with offensive content appears on these websites, the (link) shall be blocked immediately without disturbing the main website,” Mehran said.

{snip}

Mehran said an example of one of the 17 sites being blocked include islamexposed.blogspot.com, which is a blog created through Google’s Blogger service. That site features postings with headlines such as “Islam: The Ultimate Hypocrisy” and links to anti-Islam online petitions.

Mehran said that, under instructions from the Ministry of Information Technology, the authority had begun the process of barring and monitoring the various sites.

{snip}

The Facebook controversy sparked a handful of protests across Pakistan, many by student members of radical Islamic groups. Some of the protesters carried signs advocating holy war against the website for allowing the page.

It also sparked a good deal of soul-searching, especially among commentators, who questioned why Pakistanis could not be entrusted to decide for themselves whether or not to look at a website.

Some observers noted that Pakistan had gone further than several other Muslim countries by banning Facebook, and said it showed the rise of conservative Islam in the country. {snip}

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

Comments are closed.