Sunday, March 23, 2014

‘Ban It- Block It’

By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
23 March, 2014
“What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books”. Sigmund Freud
“One idea can only be opposed by another idea”. Naguib Mahfouz
In the age of internet, almost any information is just a click away. Nothing can be hidden, there is always a way to uncover it. And since we are not living in a uni-polar environment i.e., from the global level to the local level, there are opposite forces at work to challenge the status quo. There just cannot be one piece of ‘knowledge’.
A few days ago, the social networking site ‘Twitter’ was blocked from working in Turkey. It was alleged that ‘Twitter’ was highlighting the corruption of the State. However the state-run news agency stated, on the contrary, that Twitter had some links which deemed illegal. 1
How can Saudi Arabia be far behind? In these matters it always takes the lead. The Saudi Authorities have stated that to prevent chaos in the Kingdom, the State will have full power. 2
Only a few months ago Pakistan had banned ‘New Age Islam’ because it was systematically and point by point refuting the ideas of the Jihadists and the Talibanis. And since they could not one-up New Age Islam intellectually or ideologically, the safest way for them was to block the website.
There are very broadly two reasons for banning or blocking any work: first, you can’t defeat it ideologically. That is to say, you are afraid of it. The other reason is that you are afraid that people may get upset or worse still, they may use violence. So to prevent such course of actions, it is better to ban.
The second reason seems to be quite satisfactory. But this reason raises a few more questions. Are people really that sensitive? Do they have the time to indulge in such nefarious activities? Don’t they have some other productive work to do?

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