The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the internet monitoring body in Pakistan has issued directives to all its ISP providers to block a list of six webpages on the grounds that they were ‘harmful for the integrity of the country.’
The URL Level block directive by the PTA was in response to the decision taken by the Inter-Ministerial Committee whose charter is to monitor and block anti-Pakistan, blasphemous, and pornographic web sites. The specfic URL’s under question carry a bunch of pictures of Mr. Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab. These pictures had been making rounds on various email lists across Pakistan some months back ridiculing the lavish parties thrown by the Governor Taseer at the Governor House while his people have been starving on the streets.
It has been suspected that these pictures may have apparently been copied from a facebook picture album of one of the Taseer family and could arguably be deemed private in nature, but one does have to wonder how the Inter-Ministerial Committee chose to classify them as being ‘harmful for the integrity of the country’
Urooj Zia from The News writes
Three of the six webpages on the list issued by the PTA, however, are from dictatorshipwatch.com, a website set up after November 3, 2007, when then-President Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf implemented a state of emergency in the country. One webpage is from makepakistanbetter.com, a social and political discussion forum. The fifth page is from friendskorner.com, a general discussion forum, while the sixth webpage is a node from buzzvines.com. Most of the blocked webpages contained articles which claimed to provide information about Punjab Governor Salman Taseer’s ‘history’; others had pictures of members of Taseer’s family at lavish parties thrown recently at the Punjab Governor House.
None had blasphemous material, or anything which could even remotely be construed as ‘anti-Pakistan,’ unless criticism of one person is considered an act of treason
Teeth Maestro on his blog writes
Though I still choose not to share those pictures myself but some common sense needs to be knocked into PTA and our Governor that its nearly impossible to totally block / censor content on the Internet as even now a simple Google search will list a dozen more websites which are also sharing the same images
The following are the six (6) URL’s that are supposed to be blocked from Pakistan
- http://www. dictatorshipwatch.com/taseer/taseer.swf
(Via Global Voices Advocacy.)