According to a latest report published in the media that Pakistani authorities have blocked 13,000 porn websites in Pakistan. The figure sounds good enough but the ratio at which these porn or sex related sites are popping up is very high.
Just recently, Parliamentary Secretary for Information Technology, Nawab Liaqat Ali Khan, while responding to a calling attention notice in National Assembly had revealed that Government of Pakistan and the regulatory authority (PTA) didn’t have a convincing mechanism to stop the access of pornographic websites in Pakistan.
He said, “China and India has much promising solutions of controlling such websites. With the help of “Automated Filtration System” they are able to fight against the menace. But here in Pakistan, even if we could install that kind of expensive solution, that would not be sufficient to stop the pornography in Pakistan”.
“Since most of these sites are not based in Pakistan, therefore, authority(PTA) can not penalize or stop them”, he added.
Pornography or obscene websites suddenly became a point of concern for almost a year ago when Facebook published blasphemous cartoon on its pages and particularly after Fox News termed Pakistan as “Pornistan” because of Pakistan’s higher search trend on Google for sex related terms.
After repeated court orders as a result of writ petitions filed by various social elements against these websites and the incident of hacking of PTA and Supreme Court websites where hacker demanded local authorities to take action against these sites, PTA eventually took this decision to ban these anti-social obscene websites.
But as the Mr. Nawab says that Government of Pakistan does not have any mechanism to stop these websites and yes he is true because these websites are being accessed easily on most of the ISPs in Pakistan. Following is the screenshot of what happens when a video tube sitehaving porn content is opened on most of the local ISPs.
A user is still able to watch full length of videos on such sites. He is not bothered by this message which is displayed as a banner on the right and bottom making mockery of PTA’s strict directions which are, “Access Denied: The Access to this Site has been blocked on the instructions of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority”.
Since the time our authorities are taking care of this menace, the desire to see pornography among Pakistanis has increased many times. At least this is what Google’s graphs show. Against certain obscene words, Google shows the following trends for Pakistan during last 12 months.
It is quite interesting to see in the above graph that cities such as Quetta, Multan and Peshawar which are considered to be behind the major metropolitan of the country in terms of education, awareness, and availability of better internet services have a higher ratio of wasting a lot of bandwidth for sex related content.
According to an official of a local ISP, “30 to 40% of our traffic in the home user category comes from people who want to access obscene websites. If we block this content, we will have to lose a big chunk of our business”.
Pornography is not a local issue, even the developed countries have been failed to tackle it successfully.
In India, three state ministers of Karnataka had to resign yesterday because they were caught by media cameras watching a porn content on their mobile phone while sitting in an assembly session.
Even in China where most stringent laws are being practiced to curb the pornography since decades, people are more inclined towards satisfying their individual desires. According to Katrien Jacobs, who is a professor and a famous writer who worked on a book “Pornography in China”, “I wanted to see how effective are the Chinese regulations for keeping public away from obscene material. For this, i along with my students went to a net cafe in China and spend some 30 minutes on public computers. To our surprise, we found tons of obscene material through search engines that was easily browse-able”.
A day or two ago, Indonesian’s government has announced that anyone found tweeting illegal content such as pornography or blasphemy could face 12 years of imprisonment.
It is not a rocket science to gauge the intensity of problem which may eat our society from within. But our policy makers and regulator can only rely on measures that are limited to issuing a generic letter to all the ISPs where business oriented people will convey the same message to the internet users who will read it on the side bars or bottom of their web pages while watching a porno. Wake up policy makers!!