Pakistan wants help to silence ‘blasphemers’ worldwide
Satirists have jumped at the opportunity to point and laugh at Pakistan’s plan to to launch a worldwide hunt to identify and punish ‘blasphemers’ who use Facebook and Twitter to insult Islam.
Pakistan Today, for example, ran a piece entitled “Facebook to add ‘Kafir! Kafir!’ emoji reaction amidst clampdown on blasphemous content.”
In a major development, the Facebook administration has agreed to add a ‘Kafir! Kafir!’ emoji reaction to its six existing choices … following the Federal Interior Ministry’s clampdown on blasphemous content on social media.
Pakistan has asked Facebook and Twitter to help identify Pakistanis suspected of blasphemy so it can prosecute them or, if they are living outside the country, have them extradited for punishment.
Under the country’s strict blasphemy laws, anyone found to have insulted Islam or the “prophet” Mohammed can be sentenced to death.
The interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said an official in Pakistan’s Washington embassy had approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam.
He said Pakistani authorities had identified 11 people for questioning over alleged blasphemy and would seek the extradition of anyone living abroad.
Facebook said it reviews all government requests carefully:
With the goal of protecting the privacy and rights of our users. We disclose information about accounts solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law. A mutual legal assistance treaty or other formal request may be required for international requests, and we include these in our government requests reports.
Facebook has often struggled to deal with the varying cultural norms around censorship in the hundred-plus countries where it operates.
In a sprawling manifesto released in February, the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, set out a plan in which FB
would ask users all over the world to vote on what sort of content they found acceptable to see on their social media feeds.
Content which breached those personal and national standards would then be automatically flagged by an artificial intelligence, and removed without the need for human intervention.
Twitter declined to comment.
The BBC adds that Pakistan has often blocked access to pornographic sites and sites with anti-Islamic content and in 2010 a Pakistani court blocked Facebook over caricatures of the Mohammed.
Ironically, Pakistan heads a list of ten countries that watch the most porn on the Internet. Egypt comes second, and Saudi Arabia is seventh on the list.
This suggests that the Islamic world is full of wankers, some of whom appear in the picture used to illustrate this piece. It was taken at an anti-Charlie Hebdo protest in Pakistan in 2015.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn