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PTA has blocked 50,000 porn sites, chairman told Islamabad High Court

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman Syed Ismail Shah recently told Islamabad High Court that the authority had blocked 50,000 porn sites along with 10,000 sites for containing blasphemous material.Porn Sites

He presented the statistics in front of the court in response to a petition filed by NGO Bolo Bhi regarding the blockage of websites. It is the same group which had challenged the legal position of Inter-Ministerial Committee on blocking several websites in Pakistan including YouTube. The NGO advocates digital rights of the citizens in Pakistan.

Bolo Bhi also questioned the transparency of the committee. Islamabad High Court had placed a restriction upon Inter Ministerial Committee from blocking the websites without court’s approval on the request of Bolo Bhi.

Mudassir Hussain, Member Telecom, from Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT), requested the court to revisit its earlier order in which the court had restrained the authority from blocking any website without approval of the court.

Bolo Bhi’s lawyer Babar Sattar argued that mechanism of the committee had been non-transparent and dubious and the records of the sessions conducted by the very committee should be taken into account. He also added that govt should introduce a law to block websites rather perusing it through polices and committees.

Ismail Shah told the High Court that it was not the PTA which blocked the websites but it was a policy directive of Prime Minister to the MoIT which forwarded the instructions to the authority. He also presented sealed documents before the court having information relating to banned outfits and told that it was inevitable to block these sites in the midst of growing terror threats.

It is to be noted that the Inter-Ministerial Committee consists of Minister of Information, Members of Cabinet Division, Experts of telecommunication and ISI representatives.

The court however directed PTA to consider the complaints regarding blockage of the websites and submit a detailed report on next hearing.

Despite the ban on porn sites in Pakistan, an American news portal Salon cited claim a couple of days ago that Pakistan topped among the porn searching countries on Google. The news’s authenticity was exposed by More Magazine and Pro Pakistani.

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