Stories about YouTube ban

Did Ahsan Iqbal and Imran Khan not get the memo about not using Twitter? Or was the ban only for the general public?

A bunch of religious hardliners taking over a country may seem like something a government may be able to control, but this being Pakistan, of course this wasn’t the case. After weeks of inaction, when the government finally decided to do something about the Faizabad protesters, it was to deploy the police, and unless one slept through Saturday, everyone is by now aware of the chaos that ensued following the government’s failed attempt at an operation. What undoubtedly added to the panic on Saturday was the fact that both social and electronic media were shut down by the Pakistan Electronic ...

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Facebook: It’s high time you control hate speech in languages other than English!

The increased role of social media recently has been fundamental in guiding social debates and forming narratives of people at large. It has posed many challenges in different parts of the world. On one hand, there are autocratic governments trying to ban Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp while on the other, there is a scuffle between law enforcement authorities and the social media giants over the demand to hand over a user’s data. The revolutionary rise of social media owing to its widespread popularity has also brought a range of issues to our already polarised society, one of them being the evolution of hard-core Islamists. The Urdu content on social media ...

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A common Pakistani’s response to Happy Bhag Jayegi director’s open letter

Mr Mudassir Aziz, Proud Indian, Director of Happy Bhag Jayegi. Dear Mr Mudassir Aziz, I just read your open letter to Pakistan on The Quint regarding the unfortunate ban on your film Happy Bhag Jayegi in Pakistan. I am not the person in charge but merely a common Pakistani, for whose benefit you want to get the film unbanned. Let me say at the outset, that having successfully fought against the YouTube ban as a lawyer in the Lahore High Court, I am absolutely opposed to censorship of any kind. I believe any speech, no matter how offensive, should be allowed unconditionally. I recognise that this ...

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Did Pakistan really top the ‘porn-searching’ list?

Pakistan (also referred to as ‘Pornistan’ in recent time) has topped the list of Porn-searching countries in the world yet again, as revealed by news website Salon. That’s not it – it gets even more disturbing when the story states that, “It leads the way in porn searches for animals like pigs, donkeys, cats, dogs and snakes.” Snakes? Are you kidding me?! I really wouldn’t want to get into the details of that. Following us, on the list, were countries like Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This list insinuates that Muslim countries are goldmines for porn companies and sites. Today, however, I will not ...

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If I were prime minister of Pakistan in 2014 I would…

The year 2013 has been heavy on all of us. We’ve gotten through drone strikes, kidnappings and the elections, and had to suffer through the likes of Sahir Lodhi on our radio. On a more positive note, there were a record number of people at this year’s elections. There were talks of better relations with India (which did not really pan out) and Geo finally realised that Sana Bucha’s perfect hair was not enough to keep her on. However, with the coming of the new prime minister, I realised that there are a lot of things that I would change if I were to become ...

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Sign this petition to save Pakistan from ‘vulgarity’?

As I was about to enter the Blue Dome Mosque in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad, for Jumma prayer, I was stopped by three pious-looking individuals, wearing white turbans and shalwar kameez. They thrust a paper at me and declared that it was my duty as a Muslim to sign the petition. Blue Dome Mosque in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad. Photo: Affan Javed When I asked them what the petition was about, they verbally explained that it was a request to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to ban behaya (lewd) content, all across the country. When I questioned them further, they seemed to get irritated and ...

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IMDb ban: Internet Movie DataBase or Internet and Media Data Ban?

Pakistan has been suffering at the hands of perception and media-related matters being blown out of proportion, falling victim to the same. First it was Facebook, because of a pastor and his anti-Islamic intentions. When that phased over, it was followed up by the Benghazi attack and the movie that was the cause of a tragic diplomatic mission episode, unwarranted frustrations being vented in the form of riots, stone pelting and much worse across Pakistan and eventually a ban on YouTube that has lasted over 400 days. While the above two bans had the undercurrent of both inciting religious violence, users ...

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No WhatsApp, Skype or Viber? I’m moving to Sargodha!

  Can you imagine a WhatsApp exchange like this occurring between two terrorists? What, you think they don’t use WhatsApp? Well, shame on you for being so unimaginative because this totally happens. You think you know better than the government? Such conversations are held every time there is a bomb blast, because let’s face it, we all love talking to our friends – yes, even terrorists. However, thanks to the foresighted Sindh government, terrorists (and also the harmless communication junkies of Sindh) might soon be on a three-month break from their Viber/Tango conversations, WhatsApp-ing and Skyping with their homies. Yesterday, Sindh Information Minister ...

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Dear Prime Minister, please make the right decision on the YouTube ban

Dear Mr Prime Minister, Congratulations on taking the office for a coveted third time. The country has once again reposed its trust on you for steering it through these unquestionably trying times. Your government faces a plethora of challenges. Still, I would like to apprise you of another one that also requires your imminent attention. Now this might come as news to you, Mr Prime Minister, but in the last couple of years, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have taken the world by storm. Wikipedia defines a MOOC as: “A massive open online course is an online course aimed at large scale interactive participation and ...

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When the song ‘Get Lucky’ is inappropriate only in Ramazan

Around a week ago, as I was listening to the radio while weaving my way through Pindi’s traffic en route to work, an interesting development caught me by surprise. The radio jockey announced the song ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk had been requested but that some listeners called in demanding that it not be played because the lyrics were ‘too inappropriate to be heard during Ramazan.’ The song, which still remains a hit among youth the world over, was not played. For starters, the logic behind the decision was baffling. Ever since the song was released some two months ago, it ...

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