Body set up to block websites

The government in it’s infinite wisdom “sets up a formal body to censor the internet”:

bq. ISLAMABAD, Sept 2: The government on Saturday set up a committee to streamline mechanism for screening and blocking websites offering objectionable contents. *”This is the first-ever focused attempt by the government to block offensive websites,* warranted because of growing concern among people about indecent content,” a senior government official said.

Enlightened moderation means the government will only block those websites not enlightened enough to follow their religious, political, ethical and moral values. Websites promoting fast food and fake medicines are OK, as are spam websites. Sheikh_Chilli wrote over at “wiredpakistan”: that while the IT ministry has failed in all of it’s basic tasks, _they sprint like crazy to curb our freedom of speech at the drop of a hat. One individual, some egg-head bureaucrat sitting in a ministry, is now going to decide what info the 160 million Pakistanis can, or cannot see._

bq. Constituted by the Ministry of Information Technology, its Secretary Farrukh Qayyum would preside over the body to examine contents of websites reported or found to be offensive or containing anti-state material.

As you -can- can’t see, this will be the busiest Ministry by far, as they go through the 14 billion or so porn pages on the internet, making sure each one is “safe” to visit. A few months ago, there was a great hue and cry about Pakistan leading the world in online searches for “sex on Google”: The real reason has finally come out – it was the legions of govt. employees and ministers scouting out the internet to make it safer for the “common man”!

bq. Representatives of ministries of interior, cabinet, information and broadcasting and security agencies would be part of the body that would operate within the parametres set out in the Amended Telecom Act 2006.

So, any one of the 1 million employees of these 5 agencies can block any website they don’t like. What fun! (ed: The security agencies alone probably have more than a million people on their payrolls..)

bq. It would evaluate and examine web material besides entertaining public requests for blocking websites and decide cases on merit and advise the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to take appropriate action.

It is impossible to censor the internet, as I had “explained earlier here”: The real question is, how long before the govt. keeps up and implements a whitelist of “approved sites” instead of a never ending blacklist. That way, they could make lots more money as internet surfers will be lining up miles deep to bribe their local official to please please open up their favourite website.

bq. The decision to constitute the committee to oversee obnoxious websites had been taken following a growing number of public grievances regarding objectionable and hateful material being displayed at various websites.

Educating the public about the internet is obviously a no go area for the govt, so they’ll try to sweep the whole issue under the carpet by claiming to censor the internet. They will completely and utterly fail in the process, but than that is par for most government schemes.

bq. A Deregulation Facilitation Unit had also been established to act as focal point for receiving public complaints and forwarding them to the committee for perusal and decision. The in-charge of the unit could be reached at telephone No 051-9212346.

Deregulation Facilitation Unit is such a nice word for Censorship Facilitation Unit. The very first thing they censored is the above mentioned telephone number. You can bet your booty that official govt. residences of the highups will get uncensored internet, while the rest of the country lives on a neutered connection.

No doubt, a “few misguided souls”: will complain to the govt. about this censorship. They will be brushed off by some Minister explaning to them that now that the internet pipes have been cleaned up by the sainted Ministry of IT, everything will work faster and better! Heck, with this better, faster internet, we will now be able to watch the “dancing fountain of sewage”: online direct from home! This will single handedly save the national exchequer millions of dollars, as citizens around the country will stop driving to the fountain and watch it on their moniters instead! There are of course, many other associated benefits, the minister will explain, but since he has to go censor he’ll have to tell us all later.

7 thoughts on “Body set up to block websites”

  1. We can argue all day about this issue but who is going to listen, does our voice actually matter or are we beating our head against a stone wall.

    The question is what to do and how to go about undoing this potential disaster in the making, we cannot be at the whim of a thick headed bureaucrat who one day deems WIKIPEDIA as objectionable content.

    I suspect that the problem is bound to get worse, it already has, started off with a list of 12 websites went on to blacklist the entire blogspot domain and now we just sit by and watch them tapping our fingers awaiting what will come next.

  2. I say, all of us should be on that committee. Here is my great first suggestion:

    “Unplug Pakistan. Cut off the phone lines and encourage people to talk through tin cans hooked onto copper wires. Then get some nukar ki university student to write 1000 pages on why this is the only way forward in the Republic of Saaf Shafaaf People–justify this is a leap forward. Lastly, submit paper to MoITT, PTA and PM.”

    Every body on the committee walks away happily with a bundle of money for doing nothing–no lengthy meeting-minutes to go through, no time-wasting press releases to issue, nada!

    >>>”…public grievances”, oh sure!

  3. The government should be asked this question: Is overseeing and directing public internet usage more important than the task of eradicating poverty and illiteracy? Having lived in Saudi Arabia for quite some time, I would NEVER like to see “Moral Police” here in Pakistan. Instead, people should themselves be aware enough to distinguish between right and wrong with regard to their own moral standards. Just looking at Google Trends shows that the ‘closed’ and hypocritical societies lead the pack in searches for obscenities (source: The government needs to realise that the current telecom infrastructure is in a shambles. It is imperitive that steps are taken to improve the quality and speed of internet here in Pakistan instead of slowing it down.

  4. The iditios have already blocked and they have no idea that you can actually use and other such service to get foreign investment. Idiots! This country is heading towards ultimate destruction indeed!

  5. pakistan is govern by old illetrate peoples thay dont use internet cause they dont use computers, i think we should take over the paki govt… we mean bloggers:)

Leave a Reply