Facebook has censored the popular page of a liberal Pakistani rock band and others that criticise the Taliban at the request of the government, angering activists campaigning against censorship in the Islamic country.
Rock band Laal (Red)
formed in 2007 and are known for their progressive politics. Their Facebook page has more than 400,000 likes, with users frequently joining debates on issues ranging from feminism to the role of the country's army in politics. But it is now censored to
users from inside Pakistan.
Other pages like Taalibansarezalimans (The Taliban are oppressors) and Pakistani.meem which describes itself as pro-democracy and secularism, have similarly been blocked in recent days.
spokeswoman said: While we never remove this type of content from the site entirely, like most Internet services, we may restrict people from accessing it in the countries where it is determined to be illegal. Facebook have unhelpfully initiated
the block in such a way that users are not made aware of the censorship, requests for the banned page are simply redirected to the requestor's own profile page.
15th June 2014. See
article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org
Laal's Facebook page was made accessible in the country after just two days. Good news? Yes, but not as much as you think. Remember that Laal has a pretty strong fan base and an equally strong support system with reach extending to lawyers, advocacy
groups, local and international media.
Other banned page owners who have been blocked cannot fight back in a similar way. Are these people left with any options after they're blocked? Roshni.pk and Talibaans Are Zaalimaans are only
two of the many other pages that remained blocked.
The unblocking of Laal may look like a win, but if you step back and assess the bigger picture, it only reveals the extent to which the government can censor with impunity.
unblocking was clearly a ploy to stop us from creating more outrage -- the unblocking of Laal was a minor battle won in a war we are losing.