Sunday, 7 July 2013

Pakistan: Blasphemy In A Nutshell = YouTube

Put More Clearly: Nut Jobs In A Country = Pakistan!

Saad Rasool
The government of Pakistan, in September 2012, banned the popular video-sharing website, Youtube, in response to widespread public unrest on the broadcasting of clips of a low-budget film titled ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which (reportedly) portrays Muslims as violent and immoral, and specifically makes blasphemous slants against the Prophet (PBUH). Soon thereafter, a petition was filed before the honourable Lahore High Court, by an NGO called Bytes for All, to restore access to Youtube, and a debate about the virtues and vices of censorship started in the legal and religious stratas of Pakistan.

... Let’s start with a brief account of the Pakistani laws, under which the blockade of Youtube (for containing blasphemous material) is being defended. The Preamble, as well as Article 2A of the Constitution of Pakistan, upholds the sovereignty of the teachings of Islam. Similarly, Article 19 limits the right to freedom of speech from venturing into an area that compromises the glory of Islam. And Part IX of the Constitution (Islamic Provisions) mandates that all laws of Pakistan must be in conformity with the ‘injunctions of Islam’. Pursuant to these Constitutional provisions, Pakistan has enacted PEMRA Ordinance and censorship laws, which incorporate the same ideas. Similarly, section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code makes blasphemy a criminal offence (publishable by death). And thus, in light of these laws, an argument can be constructed in favour of banning every possible outlet of information (even on the internet), which has the ‘potential’ of ‘directly of indirectly’ being construed as blasphemous.

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