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Pakistan Blocks Twitter Over 'Blasphemous' Images 226

Posted by timothy
from the omnipresent-omnipowerful-omniscient-government dept.
Diggester writes with this news from the Times of India: "Pakistani authorities on Friday further widened the crackdown on websites with blasphemous contents by restricting access to popular social networking website Twitter. Pakistani users were unable to log into Twitter after internet service providers blocked access to the site." The block was prompted by Twitter's refusal to take down messages promoting a cartoon contest to which the Pakistani government objects for its depictions of Muhammad. This end-run falls right in line with the pessimistic reaction from Reporters Without Borders to the Pakistani court decision calling Internet censorship unconstitutional.
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Pakistan Blocks Twitter Over 'Blasphemous' Images

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  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @11:27AM (#40057135) Journal
    Pakistan blocks yet another place for failing to obey diktats from the stone-age. Maybe they'll just discard everything with origin from the Renaissance onwards.
    • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @11:36AM (#40057181)

      True religion at work.

      Superstition is slavery.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This type of comment reduces complex issues to simple bitter theophobic (yep I just coined a word) rhetoric and it is no better than the folks who force their religious beliefs on other through institutionalized oppression and social shunning.

        Since the beginning of civilization clans and tribes have sought to extinguish each other so that theirs would thrive. In a world of constrained resources this actually makes some evolutionary sense. Now that our clans and tribes are defined as much by structures
        • by reboot246 (623534) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @12:18PM (#40057417) Homepage

          . . . theophobic (yep I just coined a word) . . .

          No, you didn't. You just discovered a word you had never heard before.

        • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @12:34PM (#40057521)
          How can he be "theophobic" when he does not believe in all that crap? You can't be afraid of something you know that does not exist.
        • This type of comment reduces complex issues to simple bitter theophobic (yep I just coined a word) rhetoric and it is no better than the folks who force their religious beliefs on other through institutionalized oppression and social shunning.

          Nonsense. Your assertion that absence of superstition is no better than any of the contradictory superstitions which cripple our societies is a contemptible form of moral relativism.

          A little introspection in the world would be a revolutionary thing.

          And is explicitly banned by most of the big religions extant today ("don't ask the wrong questions or you're an apostate/heathen/whatever"), thus reinforcing GP's point that "superstition is slavery". Which was the point you disagreed with, and must confuse you quite a bit.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            Actually, Bible colleges are incredibly introspective and address "controversial" questions. I suppose that is only one religion (assuming you group all forms of Christianity) which would still make the statement "most of the big religions" true.

            Also, most atheists confuse "lack of belief" with "disbelief." Lack of belief is rational and not in any way equivalent with belief. Disbelief is in the same category as belief in that you take it to be true even though you do not know it is true. Most atheists

            • Most people who believe in God/god(s) also don't believe in God/god(s). It's just the atheists are more thorough in their disbelief.

              Christians/Muslims/Jews don't believe in Odin, Zeus, Ra or Shiva. Atheists don't either, they just add one more god to the list of gods they don't believe in. Which, if you think about it what's the difference in not believing in 1000 vs 1001 gods. If the first thousand don't exist, why would you believe in the thousand and first.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 20, 2012 @02:06PM (#40058099)

              Most atheists fall into the disbelief category and have more in common with religious believers than they are willing to recognize.

              I've found the reverse to be true. Atheism covers a pretty broad range. As with religious believers, there'll be plenty of atheists who don't realize how stupid it is to voluntarily assume the burden of evidence. If some guy tells me that he's in personal communication with Grabxil, Supreme Warlord of Venus, then why should I be the one paying for the ticket to visit Venus in order to disprove this guy's existence?

              Of course it also depends on the nature of the God. In internally inconsistent god (all forgiving, yet refuses to forgive certain actions) is not disproven, but certainly cannot reasonably exist. Believers will most likely adopt special pleading or interpret away these inconsistencies. Why does a loving God send us to Hell? Why, he doesn't! We send ourselves there. Why was a loving God such a cunt back in the Old Testament days? Well, it's obviously because the Hebrews were barbaric, and for some reason or other God had to abide by that. Hey, perhaps it's all about free will and stuff? Why does an all loving god permit suffering to exist? Well, that's definitely free will, isn't it? Hey, it's the corruption of the world cause by man. Yep, your child is dying painfully of leukemia because two simpletons a few thousand years ago had a fruity snack, and certainly God couldn't possibly intervene to avoid blaming the innocent for something done by someone else. That's how the stuff goes.

              From personal experiences, it's pointless trying to disprove the existence of gods. One can spend hours debating, running through arguments and "evidence", to end up with the frustrating last ditch defense that it requires faith. Fuck it, why not just say that right from the beginning! You have no evidence, and you believe this because you have faith - fine. Then why waste time with this evidence and these fancy arguments you picked-up from a William Lane Craig book, when they're simply not relevant to why you personally belief this stuff? I can see the value in Jeff Dee's approach of asking people to provide their best argument first. What is it that actually makes them believe in their God - not what is it that they think will convert me?

              Put another way, not believing in God/god(s) is not the same as believing there is/are no God/god(s).

              Not even in the same league. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, yet a lack of evidence is reasonable grounds to assert disbelief. Let's say a guy is claiming that his car can fly. He believes this to be true, and I feel confident in asserting the opposite. He tells me that he can't give me a demonstration because the government radar will detect him. He claims the car has a super secret CIA made engine. I pop the hood and see nothing out of the ordinary. Overall, this appears to be a regular Chevy. Is my disbelief of his flying car the same as his positive beliefs? If not, then why is this any different to a belief in gods?

            • by njen (859685) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @02:17PM (#40058155)
              A new tactic of religious followers I have seen lately is to try and elevate atheists to the same level of what is "unknowable" (and I use that term loosely) as themselves, and it is maddening. I disbelieve in many things that I know to be untrue: unicorns, dragons, FSM (sorry to all the Pastafarians out there!), teapots circling the sun, etc.

              The sheer amount of things to disbelieve in is absolutely infinite, there for it is safe to say to disbelieve in it all as a starting point, unless there is proof for it's existence.
              • Again, confusing disbelief with lack of belief. What evidence do you have that there are no teapots circling the sun? (I am assuming this excludes teapots on earth). What evidence do you have that a horse with a horn (unicorn) has never existed on this planet or another? Perhaps aliens placed tea pots in orbit around the sun as some sort of game (ridiculous but illustrative). Maybe there was some freakish mutation and a single horse had its main grow into a horn like structure. I don't believe any of t
                • by njen (859685)
                  I am not confusing anything.

                  You talk of "maybe this", or "maybe that", but until there is proof of evidence for what ever you want to assert is true, then it is not, no belief required.

                  It is not up to the person to prove something is untrue, it is up to the person to prove something is true.
                  • And you failed to listen.

                    If you have no proof of something existing or not existing, you do not know whether it exists or not.
                    Thus it is a matter of belief.

                    Disbelief is having a belief, in an atheists case, the active belief that there can be no god in a traditional sense.
                    Lack of belief would be the case for an agnostic, not believing in the existence or non-existence of a deity but simply stating that you are open to evidence either way, but up until that point, no steps will be taken assumiing a deity exi

                    • by njen (859685)

                      >Disbelief is having a belief, in an atheists case, the active belief that there can be no god in a traditional sense.

                      This sentence is fundamentally incorrect. The dictionary meaning of the suffix "dis" is "the opposite or absence of". Therefore "disbelief" is the opposite or absence of belief. "Absence" can be described as a lack of something. Thus "disbelief" is essentially "a lack of belief".

                      The dictionary meaning of the word "disbelief" is the rejection of belief. How you think that disbelief is a belief is beyond me...

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              I find it instructive to reframe discussions regarding belief in god as discussions regarding belief in unicorns.

              "Not believing in Unicorn/unicorn(s) is not the the same as believing there is/are no Unicorn/unicorn(s)." is thus easily revealed as the semantic niggling that it is. Either there's unicorns or there ain't; if there are, you believe in them.

              Also, Christianity in the U.S. only seems benevolent to the extent that it does because Christianity's become a toothless tiger after 200+ years of secular l

            • by dissy (172727) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @05:51PM (#40059167)

              Once you understand why you reject all other gods as possible, you will understand why I reject yours.

            • by Doc Ruby (173196)

              No they don't. They are "intro" in the sense that they think only inside their own safe definitions. There's no bible colleges where they teach Creationism instead of evolution, and have honest introspective debates about fossil and experimental evidence of evolution. They don't have honest introspective debates about the history of religions gradually dropping opposition to one or another scientific theory as their superstition became laughable and a net liability. They're not really introspective about th

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            +1

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Psyborgue (699890)
          Phobia implies irrational fear. Fear of religion is not irrational. If anything the absence of fear towards religion should be considered irrational.
        • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @01:41PM (#40057949)

          Superstition is nonsense, unsupported by evidence and therefore deserving NO respect.

          If it's not truth then propagating it is bad, end of story.

          The only people who defend superstition ARE superstitionists. I have no use for the unsupported beliefs of flat-earthers.

          Prove a deity exists and I'll recant then grovellingly kiss his/her/it's Noodly Appendage. Until then, fuck off.

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          Yours is a false equivalence (and a false claim to inventing an existing word "theophobia" that means something different). There is a very substantial difference between insisting everyone believe in the same imaginary god as you, instead of their own imaginary gods, vs pointing out that any religion is slavery.

          First, pointing out that religion is slavery doesn't insist anyone stop believing in it. It does say that religion isn't worth believing in, but it doesn't insist anyone stop.

          Second, that's vastly d

      • by digitig (1056110)

        True religion at work.

        Your definition of "True religion". Not mine: I'd call it "bad religion at work".

      • by Chrisq (894406)
        Islam is about blocking images while actual murder and rape of non-muslims is seen as fine.
    • If anything the age of the law lends it credit. Let me guess, the concept that murder is immoral is outdated because it was considered bad since the beginning of civilization?

      • by jhoegl (638955)
        Your logic is flawed.
        Man created murder
        Man created morality.
        Man created law
        where lack of law, man created religion
    • Pakistan blocks yet another place for failing to obey diktats from the stone-age. Maybe they'll just discard everything with origin from the Renaissance onwards.

      I'm guessing they'll be holding on to the modern weaponry.

      • They will probably need to ask God which way to point their weapons. Damn near every Muslim state militarises are incompetent in the extreme. The only thing they do well is kill their own people.

  • Two issues... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by History's Coming To (1059484) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @11:31AM (#40057157) Journal
    There are two main issues here. The first is the rights of a country to limit internet access in line with their own laws. This could be holocaust denial in Germany, incitement to murder in the UK or copyright infringement in the US, the religion aspect has nothing to do with it (and given that no-images-of-the-prophet-Mohammed is a central tennant of Islam intended to prevent idol worship it's perfectly understandable).

    The second issue is whether it's worth trying to block the offending sites when it's unlikely to be effective and there are pre-existing legal mechanisms. If I was to call for the murder of all members of $ethnicMinority then that's illegal in the UK, so should the UK government's response be to block Slashdot or to prosecute me? I'd argue that the latter is far more effective in every way, whilst protecting the freedoms of other Slashdot users.

    Should I do the same but breaking the rules of another country (eg holocause denial is legal in the UK but not Germany) then it's down to the pre-existing extradition channels.
    • by tokul (682258)

      The first is the rights of a country to limit internet access in line with their own laws

      Country also doesn't have the right to dictate own laws to companies in other countries. Pakistanis asked for good will gesture. Twitter refused as it would violate rights stated in their country laws.

      • They're not dictating laws to companies in other countries. They're not saying Twitter can't operate as they do, just that they're not prepared to assist them once the data hits the Pakistan border. This is equivalent to any western country blocking access to data (copyright infringement, child pornography, $randomEvil), even though it may be considered legal in the country they're hosted in.
      • by Alumoi (1321661)
        Really? Try telling this to US.
    • by ehiris (214677)

      I'm sorry but I fail to see how depicting an image of a dude is the same as advocating the extermination of a people or copyright violations.
      I think a better comparison would be the depiction of nudity in public in the US. Ashcroft even covered up lady justice because of her filthy boobs.

      We have the same idol hang-ups as the Pakistanis and they're driven by retarded right wing extremist assholes. The constitution is intended to protect us from them, but it even fails to work in the US.

    • There's only one main issue, and that's the basic human right of free expression, unfettered by state or religion sponsored oppression.

      The examples you cite aren't even remotely related and none actually justify morally or practically suppression of free speech.

      Criminalizing Holocaust Denial, whatever it's achieved or claimed sociological benefits in Germany, is a political restraint on free speech probably no longer justifiable in Germany, even by it's supporters' standards. Now it's merely a technique to

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Criminalizing Holocaust denial is a lazy shortcut. It obviously failed to stop some Germans from being Nazis, since there are still plenty. Meanwhile its abuse of free expression undermines the governments that enforce it.

        It's much harder to actually stop nazism, especially in Germany where it has an actual legacy in families. But of course the harder course is necessary. Germany is at fault both for opposing liberty and for failing to snap all Germans out of their interest in one of the most hideous opposi

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Pakistan isn't going to promote itself as a regional center in Asia. Eventually its power to cause problems for everyone that's based on its nukes will be circumvented by everyone else's interests that oppose it. The nukes that Reagan helped it get to promote the Star Wars "missile defense" will have run the course of their purpose and they'll be taken away. Iran, India, Russia and China will carve it up, either into actual countries or just markets.

        If Pakistan really did promote itself as a regional center

  • Streisand fail? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @11:56AM (#40057297)

    I actually read TFA, hoping to see what, exactly, pissed them off, but apparently Pakistan's not telling.

    Either Pakistan found a way to get around the Streisand Effect (if you just mass-block an entire large site and never say which particulars caused it, it gets no publicity), or they just wanted to censor it and found blasphemy to be a decent excuse.

  • I almost missed that it was back again today [battleswarmblog.com]. I participated in 2010 [battleswarmblog.com], but nobody seemed to be doing it in 2011. Glad to see it's back, and I would have missed it if Pakistan hadn't brought attention to it.

    Everybody Draw Mohammed Day serves three important purposes:

    1. It reaffirms that the First Amendment is alive and well, and that the United States legal system cannot, should not, and will not knuckle under to transnational demands for Sharia-compliant suppression of "blasphemy" as defined by oppressive theocratic Islamic states.
    2. To prove that in the 21st century censorship is self-defeating, as it only draws more attention to whatever is being censored than ignoring it would.
    3. To provide so many targets for would-be jihadists to assault that the give up due to the futility of the task. Theo Van Gogh is dead [city-journal.org] and Molly Norris is still in hiding [battleswarmblog.com]. Standing in solidarity with them proves to jihadists that using violence to achieve political ends in a free society is counter-productive (something people eager to attack Chicago cops with Molotov cocktails evidently haven't learned).

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      anyone bringing up sharia law in the context of something threatening to US freedoms is an insufferable moron and best not to waste your time with.
      • by Psyborgue (699890)
        Why? Many Muslim organizations and individuals freely admit they would like to replace the constitution with Sharia. Some Christian organizations ( if you can find them ) say the same. Why is it OK to acknowledge one as a threat but not the other. It's not racism to acknowledge a religion as a danger. Look at the UK where Sharia courts are already established and the controversy surrounding that (needless to say, what they do is far more than what was originally advertised).
        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          Where are Sharia courts established that are recognized as replacements for UK law?

          Every democracy has groups that try to replace existing law with ones derived from their own personal heritage or interest, and many of those conflict with universal liberty as much as Sharia and other theocracy. Yes the US faces far more threats from Christian theocrats, atop existing laws that are just only according to Christianity (No alcohol sales on Sunday? No gay marriage?), than from Sharia. Anyone bringing up Sharia

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Don't worry Islam apologist. If you want to see what happens when sharia law is in place, please look at: Pakistan, Malaysia, Maldives, Iran, Saudi Arabia, various African countries, etc.

        Remember, a women's testimony is only worth half of that of a mans. And is worth less than that of a non-believer. Remember that treating women like chattel, is perfectly a-okay. Remember that beating your chattel, is perfectly a-okay, the Ulama happily point out the ways and publish materials on how to do this so you

        • by bmo (77928)

          >upset about Sharia and consider it a threat

          I don't see why you Christfags don't get all bent out of shape about Dominionism and Prosperity Gospel and all the other shit the Evangelicals seem to keep trying to shove down everyone's throats.

          Fuckhead.

          --
          BMO

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            I don't see why you Christfags don't get all bent out of shape about Dominionism and Prosperity Gospel and all the other shit the Evangelicals seem to keep trying to shove down everyone's throats.

            Fuckhead.

            So, want to feel and look like an asshole now? Well that's okay. I'm not christian, sorry to burst your bubble. I'm Jewish, reform at that.

            As for priorities? Perhaps you'll get off your ass, and look at the cases of judges in the US trampling all over individual rights of people in the name of sharia law. Remember that guy in Ohio who was assaulted for wearing a Mohammed costume? No? Well google is there for you! Look it up. How about the mandatory prayer groups that are being forced on kids in var

  • Free speech? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GofG (1288820) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @12:06PM (#40057357)
    Before we get all high and mighty about stupid a-rabs getting upset over pictures of muhammed, lets remember that holocaust denial is illegal pretty much everywhere in eastern europe and is strongly censored everywhere else in the modern world. This is important because even though holocaust denialism's arguments have been thoroughly refuted on every front, they still aren't allowed to make them. This is a very strange policy and likely leads to more suspicion in this day and age, with censorship of an idea almost automatically giving weight to that idea.

    So when we have mass huge contests for drawing pictures of muhammed, demonstrating our right to free speech with such a dividing, needless, harmful exercise, alienating an entire region of the earth, just remember: you aren't allowed to be disgusted when the islamic world responds with an International Holocaust Cartoon Competition [wikipedia.org].
    • you aren't allowed to be disgusted when the islamic world responds with an International Holocaust Cartoon Competition.

      Of course you are. And the Muslims are allowed to be disgusted by the Mohammed competition. It's when you move from disgust to censorship that there's a problem. By the way, I *do* feel the European decisions to censor Holocaust deniers is wrong.

    • by Brad1138 (590148)

      you aren't allowed to be disgusted when the islamic world responds with an International Holocaust Cartoon Competition.

      On one level, that is correct, tit for tat, on another it really isn't (IMHO). Drawing pictures of Mohammad is more like when Family Guy makes fun of Jesus, it is kind of taboo, and bothers people, but in the end no harm done. Making fun of 6 million people dying is on a completely different level, infinitely worse then "cartoons".

    • Re:Free speech? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Psyborgue (699890) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @12:52PM (#40057637) Homepage Journal
      No. We're allowed to be disgusted, just as Muslims are allowed to be disgusted. What we aren't allowed to do is go rioting through the streets, stabbing people, killing the artists, burning down embassies, and causing actual physical harm to others in retaliation. When was the last time you saw a Jew do that over a holocaust cartoon?
    • by poity (465672)

      you aren't allowed to be disgusted

      Your reasoning unraveled right there. By juxtaposing offended feelings in the second paragraph with censorship taken to limit offended feelings, you blur the moral distinction between feeling offended and taking action upon others to prevent feeling offended. People have the right to give and take offense, there's nothing wrong with Europeans taking offense at Holocaust denial, nor is there anything wrong with Muslims taking offense at blasphemy. The trouble comes from the action of silencing others. By tra

  • by ryzvonusef (1151717) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @01:42PM (#40057955) Journal

    I am from Pakistan, Twitter is working for me.

    My ISP is the local telecom monopoly(PTCL), so I doubt it's a case of selective application by ISP's.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/SenRehmanMalik/status/203961375087788032 [twitter.com]

      @Rehman Malik
      @SenRehmanMalik
      Follow

      Dear all, I assure u that Twitter and FB will continue in our country and it will not be blocked. Pl do not believe in rumors.

      So that Douchebag Minister of ours is finally good for something :p

      Now while I really hate the Indo-Pak rivarly that pops up on the internet, I have to say, that source in the link is an Indian newspaper.

      Should I pull out my tinfoil hat?

  • by digitig (1056110)
    Religion can be a force for good (even if it's accidental).
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Religion can be a force for good (even if it's accidental).

      God I love sarcasm.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Depict MLK as an ape
    See the reaction in the US (and elsewhere).

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @02:24PM (#40058185)

    Nobody's forcing anyone to look at these images. Anyone who really wants to will anyway. By making unenforceable laws, you simply make yourself look foolish, weak and powerless.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday May 20, 2012 @05:56PM (#40059191) Homepage Journal

    In the USA the Catholic Church and other cults are working hard to prevent health insurers from paying for women's healthcare like contraception, even though that investment reduces payouts for the prevented conditions and reduces the amount the cult churches pay for the insurance. Despite the economics, logic and compassion arguing for the coverage, these cults are obsessed with preventing anyone from "blaspheming", even if the blasphemers aren't part of their cult.

    Pakistan is far worse. But it's more a difference of degree than of category compared to the modern USA. Theocrats everywhere have more in common than divides them.

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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