The Lahore High Court has lifted an oder blocking access to the popular social networking site Facebook in the country, on the condition that access to specific pages deemed derogatory won’t be accessible to users in Pakistan. Among the pages to be blocked are things like “Everyone Draw Muhammad Day” which encourages visitors to post drawing of the prophet Muhammad, an act that’s considered blasphemous in many Islamic traditions.
The move comes after the court recently ruled that access to YouTube could be restored, although specific videos it deems objectionable will still be blocked. Pakistan appears to be applying the same rubric to Facebook: access to the site itself is fine, but specific pages and content deemed objectionable will be blocked.
Pakistan maintains a list of several hundred Internet sites and pages that are barred from Pakistani Internet users.
India appears to be taking a similar approach; at least some Facebook pages inviting users to draw the prophet Muhammad are reportedly inaccessible in India.
In the meantime, Bangladesh has blocked access to Facebook after the government objected to some of the content carried on the site.
The confrontations highlight the challenges facing many Internet companies and services as they attempt to extend their operations into new markets around the world. In addition to cases like China—where companies must accede to state censorship in order to conduct business—Internet companies will likely have to come up with ways to comply with local customs and law.
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