Ban on 800 sites over Facebook violates Pakistanis' "fundamental freedom": Sherry Rehman

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Islamabad, May 25(ANI): Sherry Rehman, a Member of the Pakistan National Assembly, has said that the indiscriminate blocking of websites is affecting the "fundamental freedom" of millions of people in the country.

"Given the deeply offensive, anti-Muslim nature of the Facebook postings, it was understandable that some response was warranted, but why is Pakistan Telecom Authority blocking 800 other sites? Why is the Webster dictionary and Wikipedia being blocked," The Nation quoted Rehman, as saying in a statement.

"Thousands of Pakistani students use these sites on the daily basis. There is no need to lose sight of fundamental freedoms for 180 million people if one server has caused offence."

"Freedom of expression is a jealously guarded, and very hard-won right, and we must not squander it in a rush to tar all outlets with one brush," she added.

She further said that those who have caused wilful offence in the name of freedom must expect limits, but insisted that the officials must not act in a rush.

"I just hope this incident does not become a curtain-raiser for other curtailments," Rehman said.

Earlier, Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court had ordered the government to shut down social networking sites Facebook and Twitter for displaying blasphemous drawings of Prophet Muhammad.

The government in response banned hundreds of other web pages for containing sacrilegious content, as protests over the Prophet Muhammad issue had intensified across the country. (ANI)

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