Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has once again struck against what it believes to be inappropriate or blasphemous online material. Having already gained recognition by banning Twitter and even Facebook in the past, PTA is no stranger when it comes to blocking a controversial website.
The website in question this time around, is ‘alislam.org’. Believed to be a site in control of the Ahmaddiya community, this site was accused of generating blasphemous material against the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). On trying to access a website, the user faces a message confirming the blockade alongside an email address for those who want to complain or probe the matter further.
Farahnaz Ispahani (previous member of the National Assembly) tweeted:
“Have taken up issue of blocking Ahmadiyya website with concerned officials in Pakistan.” This tweet shows that efforts are underway, to solve this issue.
Personally I completely respect the initiative taken by PTA to take action against material blasphemous in nature. However I do not seem to understand how the steps taken by an authority in a democratic sovereign state, do not give any valid explanation or do not follow any set criteria to educate the public about the incident. There is no platform available, for citizens to contest this ban on a public level, similarly there is no such way in which citizens can report the presence of an inappropriate website. The PTA must also present a list of blocked websites, stating whether a ban is temporary or not.
The introduction of this process of reasoning could help PTA avoid further controversy and criticism on it’s decision.