Biggest crime of internet based media and social networking – by Junaid Qaiser

“The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.” – Henry Steele Commager

Pakistan is a developing nation where digitally networked technologies and new media platforms are emerging, and where a struggle to establish democratic norms amidst authoritarian superstructures is underway. The Internet has allowed the formal and informal publication of news stories through mainstream media outlets as well as blogs and other self-published news stories. The Internet-based media (World Wide Web pages, weblogs) challenges traditional news organizations in several ways. Beyond the media networks, independent news sources have evolved to report on events which escape attention or underlie the major stories. In recent years, the blogosphere has taken reporting a step further, mining down to the experiences and perceptions of individual citizens.

Internet is inevitably a force for democracy, the rise of democracy and the power of the information revolution combine to leverage each other. There is a significant correlation between network connectivity and political freedom. Now it’s an established fact that the availability of digital technologies and new media platforms facilitates democratic practices and participatory behavior, even in Pakistan digital technologies–such as cellphones and live internet streams–and new media platforms–including blogs, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook–were used to promote party’s program, coordinate action, and disseminate citizen journalism during the Election2008.  Internet based media is also ensuring and protecting  human rights and civil liberties. At the same time Internet based media, social networking and civic journalism poses an insurmountable threat to authoritarian regimes all over the world. Undemocratic forces and hidden powers are using  their wealth and influence to undermine  democracy and right to freedom of expression and choice.

    “Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ” ~Potter Stewart”

In Pakistan, Internet based media and social networking i.e Facebook is facilitating the political democratic process which is very hard to do in an inactive right wing establishment controlled society. It’s ruling establishment, widely believed that liberal democratic class may use Internet-enabled forms of organization and communication to challenge authoritarian Norms and culture, a number of externally based dissidents, human rights organizations, and others have used the Internet to press for political change and an end to authoritarian and use of ICTs will eventually play a role in the democratic revolution that has been so widely predicted. Over time, however, authoritarian regimes have weathered innumerable challenges posed by changing technologies, and they may prove up to the current challenge as well.

        “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.  ~Voltaire”

The biggest crime of interactive cyber media and social networking is quite obvious, these new information and communication technology(ICT) provides space and venue for alternative liberal, progressive and democratic thoughts in conservative and medieval society and at the same time posing potential threat to right wing media. Hidden forces are trying to  counter the many challenges posed by Internet development. Now they are developing reactive strategies for controlling the Internet’s use and development. Recently, once again they used an old weapon, “religion”,  to block new and alternative voices.

Lots of people openly saying that PPP fans and liberals are active on Facebook and they are unmasking the real face of right wing media and so called independent judiciary. That’s why FB is banned!

“Books won’t stay banned.  They won’t burn.  Ideas won’t go to jail.  In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost.  The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.” ~Alfred Whitney Griswold, New York Times, 24 February 1959.

Our establishment used this opportunity,  activated  it’s junior partner Ignorant  right winger and launched campaign against internet based sites and On Wednesday a “Lahore” court ordered access to be barred to social networking site Facebook. Although facebook earlier apologized and issued statement that the company is “analyzing the situation and the legal considerations and will take appropriate action” — which “may include” making the content of the controversial page inaccessible to users in Pakistan. The firm says its approach is the same as most global Internet companies — to prevent certain content from being shown to users in countries where such content is illegal. It says it wants Facebook to be a place where “people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.” Facebook has recognized that criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology may be upsetting to some users. But it says that alone is not a reason to remove a discussion entirely. By any standard of censorship or sensitivity, it was sufficient when PTA blocked the ‘controversial link’ of Facebook.   Blocking entire Facebook and carrying out protests is not a logical response to the situation. For its part, Facebook says it is disappointed that the entire social network has been blocked for users in Pakistan because of the opinion on one out of hundreds of millions of pages.

   “The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.”  ~Walt Whitman”

“We want Pakistan uncensored!”,  blocking access to such educational interactive sites which are rich in information causes damage to Pakistani citizens and deny  access to services which are available for people around the world. I hope those responsible for this,  would reconsider their censorship policies. We are living in the age of number and reason, so it’s high time now to  emphasize logic and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation, reject authoritarian beliefs and also It’s time now to react against all sort of censorship. All Pakistanis must loudly reject fundamentalism, extremism and authoritarianism, that mindset is destroying our beloved nation. No more these forces can deprive us of art, culture, science, information and technology. No more! Don’t surrender civil liberties to state…… last but not least this quotation is for our Independent Judiciary.

“Every human being has a right to hear what otherwise human beings have spoken to him.  It is one of the Rights of Men; a very cruel injustice if you deny it to a man!”  ~Thomas Carlyle



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