The social media ban "is not the solution for blasphemous comments posted online" say some Catholic leaders commenting to AsiaNews on the ban imposed by the National Assembly. MEPs have established the closure and disposal of internet sites that publish offenses against the prophet.
Meanwhile the High Court in Islamabad has ordered an investigation of
the Federal Investigation Agency on the online activity of the five intellectuals and bloggers kidnapped in January who reappeared after a month of imprisonment and torture.
Even Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered the authorities to
remove all blasphemous content from the internet and bring those
responsible to justice.
Fr. Qaiser Feroz, executive secretary of the Commission for Social
Communications of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference, said: "We condemn
the Facebook pages containing blasphemous comments, but we are against a
total ban. Rather, people must learn to use the media more responsibly.
By approving the National Assembly's decision Sharif wrote
on his Twitter profile: "Every kind of insult to the dignity of the
Prophet Muhammad is unforgivable." He added that "the love for the
Prophet Muhammad is the most important asset for the faithful."
A few hours before the high court in the capital had begun
investigations into the blogs of activists kidnapped for criticizing
positions of the radical fringes of the government and armed forces.
Last month, the intellectuals were officially accused of blasphemy, a
crime punishable by the death penalty in Pakistan.
After reappearing from captivity after more than a month, the
authorities claim they all have fled abroad, even if there has been no
The silence was broken by one of the targeted intellectuals, Ahmad
Waqas Goraya, a blogger of Lahore, who has returned to live in the
Netherlands. The exile described being tortured "beyond all limits",
with punches, slaps and forced into painful positions.
Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, judge of the court in the capital, said that
from now on the authorities can block sites that contain offensive
Fr. Feroz believes that the decision is wrong and is concerned.
"Every day - he says - we publish at least 15 radio programs of the
Urdu-language service of Radio Veritas on our Facebook page. Thanks to
us hundreds of people, including many Muslims, listen to messages and
stories of hope. The mistakes made by a few should not jeopardize the
good of many. "
Fr. Morris Jalal, who streams his Sunday homilies live on Facebook,
rejects the idea of the social network block. "No one should insult
the religion of others – he declares - but there is also a lot of
positive content online. The Church uses these platforms to disseminate
songs, programs and reach the community of Urdu language living abroad.
All this is very important when you consider that even the poor and the
uneducated have access to social media. "
In the past, Pakistan has already implemented forms of censorship and
restrictions on the use of internet. In 2007, the government blocked
the YouTube video that was offensive to the former President Pervez
In 2010, the authorities temporarily blocked Facebook for
some caricatures of Muhammad.
Last year the government lifted a three
year ban on YouTube imposed following the publication of the film "Innocence of Muslims” considered blasphemous by both Christians and Muslims.