Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pakistan blocks 800 web pages over 'blasphemy'

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Pakistan has blocked 800 web pages and URLs to limit access to "blasphemous" material, extending a crackdown that has already banned access to Facebook and YouTube, an official said Saturday.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) banned access to Facebook, YouTube and other links, which included restricted access to Wikipedia, in view of what it called "growing sacrilegious content" this week.

"At least 800 individual web pages and URLs have been blocked since the government's orders to shut Facebook and YouTube," Wahaj us Siraj, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan.

Siraj's remarks came hours after the Facebook user who organised an "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day" competition to promote "freedom of expression" evidently took down the page along with a separate blog about the campaign.

Islam strictly prohibits the depiction of any prophet as blasphemous and Muslims all over the world staged angry protests over the publication of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in European newspapers in 2006.

Siraj said that any decision to restore Facebook and YouTube access would be taken by the PTA.

news: AFP

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