[Air-L] Update on Facebook ban in Pakistan

Fouad Bajwa fouadbajwa at gmail.com
Wed May 19 23:48:05 PDT 2010

Update on the Facebook.com ban in Pakistan:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Awab Alvi <drawab at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, May 20, 2010 at 2:03 AM
Subject: [AGABBIP] PRESS CONFERENCE: Protest Against Nationwide
Government Ban of Facebook / KPC on 20th May at 5:00pm
To: PeoplesResistance <PeoplesResistance at googlegroups.com>, CRDP
Mailing List <crdp at yahoogroups.com>, CMKP Mailing List
<cmkp_pk at yahoogroups.com>, Proud Pakistani Mailing List
<proud-pakistanis at googlegroups.com>, AGABBIP
<AGABBIP at googlegroups.com>, Pakistan ICT Policy group
<pakistanictpolicy at yahoogroups.com>, TGP Group
<telecom-grid-pakistan at googlegroups.com>

Please Join and spread the word

Karachi, 20th May 2010
For Immediate Release

Date: 20th May 2010
Time: 5:00 pm
Venue: Karachi Press Club

Defenders of Internet Freedom Protest Against Nationwide Government
Ban of Facebook

On Wednesday 19th May 2010, the Lahore High Court ordered the banning
of Facebook across Pakistan. Facebook is the world's most popular
social media network and is used by over 400 million globally. In
Pakistan, over 2 million people use Facebook to stay in touch with
their friends and family, conduct business, manage events, and share
photos, news, and other content. A few days ago, a page called
"Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" was created on Facebook asking users to
submit drawings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on 20th May 2010. This
page, interpreted as blasphemous, has triggered a nationwide ban on
the entire Facebook domain.

While we recognize that sites on the Internet are used to spew hatred
and incite violence, we steadfastly believe that governments have no
right to control access to information. We believe that every citizen
has an inalienable right to freely access information and by censoring
Facebook, the Government of Pakistan has taken away that right. This
action will have a very negative impact on Pakistan, especially
considering that countless small businesses, nonprofit organizations,
restaurants, art galleries, magazines, and media outlets use Facebook
to conduct day-to-day business and share information with their

In 2006, the Supreme Court of Pakistan banned the entire blogspot.com
domain for over 18 months over a similar incident where only one blog
carried blasphemous cartoons. Thousands of Pakistani bloggers were
deprived of the freedom to express themselves and interact with
others. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority now has the ability
to block specific pages on the Internet and could have banned just the
single blasphemous page. As members of civil society and professionals
who depend on social media networks for our daily communications, we
demand the immediate restoration of Facebook and an end to Internet
censorship by the Government of Pakistan.

We would like to invite you to a press conference to discuss the
worrying trend of Internet censorship and the resulting impact on
civil liberties and the free and unfettered exchange of ideas and

Date: 20th May 2010
Time: 5:00 pm
Venue: Karachi Press Club


Awab Alvi

Blog: http://teeth.com.pk/blog
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DrAwab

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Fouad Bajwa

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