PTA getting positive response from YouTube, Facebook

ISLAMABAD: Unlike the past, YouTube and Facebook are now cooperating with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in blocking blasphemous and anti-Islam content for Pakistani users.

A senior spokesman for the PTA told The News here on Friday that following the Islamabad High Court’s direction, the authority took up the matter with top executives of Facebook administration and got blocked at least six Facebook pages carrying blasphemous and anti-Islam content.

“Now following our complaints, the Facebook administration has started blocking the objectionable pages for Pakistani users,” he said, adding previously they were not getting such response from the Facebook.

Regarding YouTube, the spokesman said that since January 2016 when the Youtube was unblocked by the PTA after a ban of a few years, every request for blocking of blasphemous and anti-Islam content was responded positively.

The spokesman said that although there is no agreement as such between PTA and YouTube, in January 2016 the latter agreed to remove anti-Islam content for Pakistani users on request/complaint basis. At that time not only a few senior executives of YouTube were present in Islamabad but an email was also sent by the management of the social networking site assuring PTA that it would cooperate in blocking anti-Islam and blasphemous content.

The PTA, however, has not yet got any encouraging response from the Twitter management. It is said that the Authority has recently conveyed its concerns to the Twitter executives but not get any response as yet.

The authority spokesman said that filtration system could not work effectively in blocking blasphemous and anti-Islam content on social media and internet. According to an official source, besides seeking cooperation from Facebook, YouTube etc., the PTA is also considering to launch an offensive against anti-Islam websites through a team of dedicated hackers.

Of late Justice Shaukat Siddiqui of the IHC, while taking up the issue of the presence of blasphemous material on internet and social media, directed the authority including PTA, FIA, interior ministry etc to ensure that the social media and internet in Pakistan is cleansed from anti-Islam content. Justice Siddiqui also directed the interior ministry to book those who are uploading and sharing such objectionable content in Pakistan.

Following the IHC intervention, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan held a meeting with all authorities concerned on Thursday and resolved that the government would take all possible measure to cleanse the social media and internet for Pakistani users from such evil content.

On Friday, the FIA got published advertisements in different newspapers inviting the people to share with FIA’s cyber wing solid information about those who are uploading and sharing anti-Islam and blasphemous content through the internet and social media.

Meanwhile, official sources said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also expected to hold a meeting on the subject next week. On Friday, the Senate of Pakistan also adopted a resolution against ‘blasphemous’ content on social media. The resolution demanded of the government and agencies to get such content blocked besides initiating criminal proceedings against those involved in this heinous crime.

Source: The Newspta

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