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(Jun 29, 2010) On June 23, 2010, after being presented at a hearing with evidence of the reappearance of website content on the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran, a Pakistani court re-imposed a ban on the video-sharing network YouTube and also restricted access to Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, Google, Islam Exposed, In the Name of Allah, Amazon, and Bing. Content about Mohammad had reportedly resurfaced on YouTube after a prior ban was lifted in May. As of June 23, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) indicated that it had not yet received official notification of the new ban. The PTA stated it would block the websites upon receiving that order. Muslims, who comprise the majority of Pakistan's population, consider depictions of the Prophet blasphemy. (Sarah Miley, Pakistan Court Reimposes Ban on Youtube for Offensive Content, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (June 23, 2010), http://jurist.org/paperchase/2010/06/pakistan-court-reimposes-ban-on-you
tube-for-offensive-content.php
.)

According to Agence France-Presse, the judgment states that Judge Mazhar Iqbal ordered the PTA to block the websites because of "material against the fundamental principals of Islam and its preaching"; he also instructed the PTA and the Ministry of Information Technology to submit detailed reports to the court on June 28. The petition for a ban against the nine websites was brought by a retired civil servant, Siddique Mohammad. Wahaj-us-Siraj, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan, complained that the decision would "choke Internet users" if implemented and contended that "[c]ourts are not a competent jurisdiction to handle technical issues. The issue should have been handled by the PTA." (Pakistan Court Wants Google, Yahoo, YouTube Blocked, AFP (June 24, 2010), http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iYlYjtpehFgf8C7HL34-d
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.)

In May, a Pakistan high court had briefly imposed a ban on Facebook in response to a user's webpage calling for an "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day." However, the Lahore High Court soon ordered the PTA and restored access to Facebook, "holding that the government, and not the court, should be responsible for blocking offensive internet content and calling on the PTA to create a centralized system to block blasphemous content." (Andrew Morgan, Pakistan Court Lifts Facebook Ban, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (May 31, 2010), http://jurist.org/paperchase/2010/05/pakistan-court-lifts-facebook-ban.p
hp
; see also Wendy Zeldin, Pakistan: Court Order Bans Access to Facebook, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (May 21, 2010), http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205401999_text.)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Freedom of speech More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Pakistan More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 06/29/2010