On Sept 19, the Lahore high Court ordered the information technology ministry to block all websites "spreading religious hatred" on a petition that called for a ban on Facebook for creating a competition of blasphemous caricatures.
An editorial in the Dawn on Wednesday (today) said, "Facebook, YouTube and several other websites were temporarily blocked last year for similar reasons, causing consternation among many of Pakistan's Internet users. Thankfully, the court said that Google and other search engines should not be blocked."
"Though it was true that some sites may be indulging in objectionable activities and deliberately attacking religious sensitivities, we feel blocking websites is not the way to deal with the issue. It is neither ethical, in view of the tenets of freedom of information, nor effective," the paper said.
The editorial suggested that "to ignore offensive websites as bans of any sort only give controversial issues unnecessary publicity and set a precedent to justify future moves to curb the flow of information".
"In fact, the courts would be advised not to entertain such petitions at all, " It cautioned that offensive material on the Internet "should not be used as an excuse for the government to control what information citizens can access," it added.