Published:  12:00 AM, 20 March 2017

Blasphemous content on Facebook infuriates me! But blocking it is not the solution


Curious as usual to find out who has commented on my latest Facebook post, I opened my account on my phone soon after I got up today. But what I was looking at in my Facebook newsfeed was unbelievable. There was a post from an unknown Facebook page, containing sacrilegious and provocative content against Islam.

"This is totally intolerable," the reaction of my grandpa was spontaneous as he almost snatched my mobile phone from my hand and dropped it on ground with immense anger, when I showed him the blasphemous material. My mobile phone worth Rs55,000 had gone but that Facebook post and its inflammatory content were so infuriating that I completely forgot the pain of my broken mobile phone.

"Why is Islam always made a victim of these detestable elements who, while touting it as their so-called 'right of freedom of expression', post nefarious material on social media? Why is there no international law to punish them hard for such a reprehensible act?" I lamented.

The use of social media tools, especially Facebook, is skyrocketing in Pakistan. According to statistics, the total number of Facebook users in Pakistan has crossed 25 million, including 15-20 million men while 5-6 million women, while more than two third users are below the age of 25.

It is being said in both political and social circles in Pakistan that there is a maliciously dreadful conspiracy behind the inflammatory content against Islam on Facebook and that therefore, after the ruling of Islamabad High Court, the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has threatened to ban social media in Pakistan.

Pakistan banned YouTube and Facebook in September 2012 and March 2010 due to the issue of blasphemous content and religiously controversial pages. But is that really solution to the problem? YouTube and Facebook are not just sites for fun and pleasure. They also contain abundance of knowledge, education and information about thousands of different social issues from cooking classes to website designing; from religious education to modern studies and from construction of a well to big shopping plazas. So is it a wise decision to ban a website that is the cheapest and easiest source of gaining knowledge?

In my opinion, Pakistan, which is already lagging behind our neighboring countries, especially India, in technology, should not ban Facebook and YouTube as the country already has shortage of primary sources of education i.e., books and libraries. Such a step of banning YouTube or Facebook would negatively impact students.

The writer is a  broadcast journalist.  She can be reached at asma.umar972@gmail.com. The writeup has been taken from The Nation, Pakistan.

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