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-File Photo
-File Photo

KARACHI: The civil society has slammed the Ministry of Information Technology’s (MoIT) statement about resolving the issue of the YouTube ban by installing filters.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Bolo Bhi said that reports indicated that this filter has been provided by PTCL to MoIT “for free, for one year.” The filters, according to the IT ministry’s statement (being run on tickers on news channels), have already been “tested successfully”, the civil society organisation said.

“If this is indeed the case, the Ministry has dealt a huge blow to rational discourse on the issue – which, it must be pointed out, is still ongoing and being discussed in court.

Pursuing filters display a clear disregard of the discussion held to date on the matter in court,” the statement read.

“While members of MoIT and PTA have attended the hearings, nobody from the IMCEW (Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Evaluation of Websites) or decision-making ranks of MoIT have presented themselves in court. The Minister and Secretary IT have both been called to attend hearings, twice, yet have excused themselves,” the NGO alleged in its press release.

“The solution does not lie in filters. Introducing filters to reopen one platform will do more harm than good. The dangers of content filtering – especially of HTTPS traffic – have been highlighted repeatedly,” the statement added.

Bolo Bhi has urged the ministry to bring clarity on the media reports, respect the constitutional rights of citizens of Pakistan, appear in court as has been required of the Minister and Secretary IT, engage with stakeholders and the court on this issue and disable the filters immediately.

The NGO further urged PTCL to not provide filters to the Ministry of IT given the human rights implications, disable filters and follow the United Nations Principles of Business & Human Rights.

Comments (5) Closed

Sardar890 Aug 22, 2013 09:16am

At least it is the first step and both the Ministry and PTA should not be discouraged but be commended! If you have some better words to write, don't wait on my account.

Best regards

sadruddin mitha Aug 22, 2013 01:42pm

To live in stone age is our premeditated destiny;,none can change it, we are already isolated from the universe.soon, we will live with sunrise and sunset. andwithout power and all other necessities oflife, like water, food, and entertainent and knowledge. that is wht is happening here, Illeterate leaders can not take uany further

Shaheen Aug 22, 2013 04:02pm

Shame , Shame and more Shame . No youtube in Pakistan . What a country ?

Akram Aug 22, 2013 06:18pm

the filter is a complete waste of time and money, this is another area where the mullahs word is taken above that of common sense. Ministry of IT if they think they are going to get any IT development by blocking one the largest source of free e-learning i.e. you tube, they are fooling themselves. every time a controversial item appears on the internet are we going to block it? the interested parties will just go round the filter using a mirror anyway so what is the point?

Pakistani Aug 23, 2013 01:26pm

While people are and should be free to chose for themselves whatever they want, the role of a Muslim government is to ensure that it adopts policies and practices that protect the society from vices. A Muslim government is required to do the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing. These days youtube, yahoo etc are so full of filth that their exposure is harmful to the well being and development of a healthy Islamic society. While Islam gives an individual freedom to chose and act however they may want (with corresponding consequences/rewards to themselves), when it comes to the society as a whole, it is the duty of the government to ensure "amr bil maroof wa nahi anil munkar" (do they even teach this at shcools anymore???).

The right solution is to come up with our own youtube and ways to make it safe. Become strong enough so that we can get youtube on our terms; not on theirs.