Today social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and etc. have become a part of our lives as not only people are well connected because of these sites but also these are now being used as forums to disseminate information and even for the advertisement purposes. However, several concerns have been raised about the misuse of social media more particularly the use of blasphemous content on these sites has been a key issue.
Pakistan’s fight against blasphemous material speckled on social media dates back to the ban imposed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on popular video site YouTube which was lifted after three years on January 18, 2016. The ban was imposed after YouTube’s refusal to take down a blasphemous movie from its database, however, the site’s administration later took it down after an attack on the office of a French Magazine.
PM Imran’s stance on the matter:
Since assuming office Prime Minister Imran Khan has fought that case marvelously well. In a video message on August 30, he urged the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC) to play a collective role in highlighting the issue at the United Nations (UN) when a Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders announced to organize a blasphemous caricatures contest.
He said, “The matter of blasphemous caricatures is an issue of every Muslim,” adding that it is close to the heart of every Muslim.
“Disrespecting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is unacceptable by any means and it could be addressed if a joint statement could be issued by all the Muslim Nations,” the premier said.
He also slammed the Western Countries stating that they had failed to understand our perspective towards religion as it is quite different from their viewpoint.
The premier also quoted that he along with other Muslim countries will lodge a strong protest and will tell them that such acts have offended the sentiments of billions of Muslims across the globe.
Later, the Dutch government sprang into action after the premier’s efforts and the Dutch lawmaker’s blasphemous caricature contest was called off which was a setback for the forces intended to promote blasphemous content and to ignite the sentiments of Muslims community across the world.
Banning Social Media Pages and Sites:
However, the government has been widely criticized for its social media policies such as it imposed a ban on certain pages and sites under its said laws.
On the other hand, the Pakistani government had also imposed a ban on pornographic sites in its bid to control the spread of adult content.
Pakistan’s Agreement with Social Media Big Wigs:
Yesterday, the government Pakistan has announced that it had a formalized working mechanism with the Social Media Sites including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
As per the agreement, the government of Pakistan will be allowed to penalize the content on Social Sites against its policies.
The mechanism will also provide a right to impose bounties on the violators up to Rs500 million. The official sources informed that the said agreement will allow the government to take down blasphemous material from the social sites.
Meanwhile, the government had also reached an agreement with the social sites that it would be necessary for them to set up their offices in the country to register themselves with the government of Pakistan.
The officials’ privy to the development has also informed that it was made possible after resolute efforts by the government regarding the matter to stop the insensitive content towards religious figures of Muslims.
Meanwhile, it is yet to be seen how successful this deal will be and that it wouldn’t be used for political vendetta victimization.