Pakistani court orders gov't to block Facebook

May 19, 2010 By BABAR DOGAR , Associated Press Writer
Pakistani students hold a rally against Facebook page "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" in Islamabad, Pakistan on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. A Pakistani court ordered the government to block the popular social networking website Facebook temporarily because of a controversial page that encourages uses to submit images o Islam's Prophet Muhammad, a senior legal official said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

(AP) -- A Pakistani court ordered the government Wednesday to block Facebook because of a page that encourages users to post images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, a senior legal official said.

The page on the social networking site has generated criticism in Pakistan and elsewhere because Islam prohibits any images of the prophet. A series of cartoons of the prophet published in a Danish newspaper in 2005 sparked violent protests and death threats against the cartoonists.

The Facebook page "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!" encourages users to post images of the prophet on May 20 to protest threats made by a radical Muslim group against the creators of "South Park" for depicting Muhammad in a bear suit during an episode earlier this year.

"We are not trying to slander the average Muslim," said the information section of the Facebook page, which was still accessible Wednesday morning. "We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Mohammad depictions that we're not afraid of them. That they can't take away our right to by trying to scare us into silence."

In an attempt to respond to domestic criticism, the Pakistani government ordered Internet service providers in the country to block the page Tuesday, said Khurram Ali, a spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, which regulates the telecommunications network in the country.

But a group of Islamic lawyers asked the Lahore High Court on Wednesday to order the government to fully block Facebook because the site had allowed the page to be posted in the first place, said the deputy attorney general of Punjab province, Naveed Inayat Malik.

The court complied with the request by the Islamic Lawyers Forum and ordered the government to temporarily block the site until May 31, Malik said. Lawyers outside the courtroom hailed the ruling, chanting "down with Facebook."

Naguib Malik, secretary of the Ministry of Information Technology, said he has instructed the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to implement the court ruling. It will now order the Internet service providers to block the site, he said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the controversial page had been blocked, and access to the site itself was sporadic.

Explore further: Facebook vows 'improvements' after user backlash

0 shares

Related Stories

Facebook vows 'improvements' after user backlash

March 25, 2009

Faced with a torrent of complaints over its latest redesign, the social networking hub Facebook has vowed a series of "improvements" to eliminate clutter and make the website more user friendly.

Facebook decries Iranian ban

May 23, 2009

US social networking site Facebook on Saturday said it had received reports its wesbite had been blocked in Iran, lamenting the apparent government bar as "a shame."

Facebook users protest home page changes

October 27, 2009

Legions of Facebook users united in protest, demanding that the world's most popular social-networking service undo recent changes to its home page.

Vietnam Internet users fear Facebook blackout

November 17, 2009

(AP) -- Vietnam's growing legions of Facebook users fear that the country's communist government might be blocking the popular social networking Web site, which has become difficult to access over the past few weeks.

Fla. judges, lawyers must 'unfriend' on Facebook

December 12, 2009

(AP) -- Florida's judges and lawyers should no longer "friend" each other on Facebook, the popular social networking site, according to a ruling from the state's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.

Recommended for you

Cellphones can steal data from 'air-gapped computers'

July 28, 2015

Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Cyber Security Research Center have discovered that virtually any cellphone infected with a malicious code can use GSM phone frequencies to steal critical information ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.