The government of Pakistan might put a ban on Facebook over blasphemous content being circulated on various Facebook Pages. A petition has already been submitted in Islamabad High Court to ban the social networking giant. According to the petition submitted at IHC today, a plea has been made to temporarily block Facebook till the blasphemous is fully removed.
Earlier, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had said in press conference that the government might put a ban on all social networking websites if the blasphemous content is not removed.
The Interior Minister had also directed Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to contact the social networking websites in order to remove content that might hurt the sentiments of not only Muslims in Pakistan but the entire Muslim Ummah. However, PTA thinks this would take at least three to four weeks.
A FIR has also been registered against administrators and moderators of a number of controversial Facebook pages like Bhensa, Mochi and Roshni.
It must be noted that the above-mentioned pages are already banned in Pakistan on the request of PTA through another petition passed at Islamabad High Court.
Free speech vs hate speech has long been a subject of debate when it comes to social networking websites. Since social media allows anyone to say anything, the laws of countries are often enforced when the policies of social networking websites themselves fail to comply with the sentiments of a specific group.
Pakistan, being a Muslim-majority nation, has been the biggest advocate of censoring Islam-related blasphemous content. It has strict blasphemy laws outside the digital world as well.
Pakistan had also banned Youtube for over four years when the video hosting website declined the request of PTA to ban a blasphemous movie about Prophet Muhammad.
Pakistan remains one of the countries that have banned thousands of adult-oriented websites. However, recent reports show that the usage of such websites has not declined.