Out of solidarity with the recently threatened South Park creators, tomorrow will be “Draw Mohammed Day”, an international day of defiance and protest by secularists against religious extremists’ attempts to silence free expression through death threats. A Facebook group was created advertising this event. Pakistan considers Facebook‘s willingness to allow such free speech so inappropriate that they will be blocking their citizens’ access to the entire website, (at least for the time being):
“Obviously it (the blocking of Facebook) is related to the objectionable material that was placed on Facebook. That is why it is blocked,” said Khoram Ali Mehran of the telecommunication authority.
“We have blocked it for an indefinite amount of time. We are just following the government’s instructions and the ruling of the Lahore High Court. If the government decides to unblock it then that’s what we will do,” he told CNN by phone.The organization has not received any complaints from internet users about the Facebook group so far, he said.
While it would be outrageous enough if Pakistan censored Facebook, a private company, for itself initiating a free speech affirming event, it is even more insidious, in my view, that they are attacking Facebook for simply allowing other, private people to express their opinions on the site with a Facebook group.