The BBC has recently reported Pakistan’s plans to monitor ‘seven major websites’ for material deemed offensive to Muslims. These include perennial favourites: Amazon, Hotmail, YouTube and Google, along with seventeen other less well known websites. Given the two week ban imposed by Pakistan in May, it is perhaps surprising that the popular social networking site Facebook is excluded from this list. That ban resulted from Facebook’s hosting of what was viewed as ‘a “blasphemous” competition to draw the prophet Muhammad’.
Although, in the past, Pakistan has completely closed all access to banned sites (including YouTube in 2007), this time the strategy will be less draconian. In short the new approach will involve blocking individual pages and links, thus allowing the main site to remain open. It remains to be seen how successful the ban will be given the ability of determined web users to circumvent censorship.
Islam in the Age of Globalization
By Bruce Lawrence
(Vol. 3, May 2008)
Islam and Democracy: Is Modernization a Barrier?
By John O. Voll
(Vol. 1, November 2006)