Facebook turns Pakistan's rock band page 'red'

Written by FE Online | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 7 2014, 16:06pm hrs
Facebook has blocked the popular page of a Pakistani rock band 'Laal' and others that criticise the Taliban at the request of the government, angering activists campaigning against censorship in the Islamic country.

'Laal' formed in 2007 has more than 400,000 likes on Facebook page, with users frequently joining debates on issues ranging from feminism to the role of the country's army in politics.

But the page has become inaccessible to users since Wednesday.

Other pages like 'Taalibansarezalimans' and 'Pakistani.meem' which describes itself as pro-democracy and secularism, have similarly been blocked in recent days.

Pakistan practises extensive Internet censorship, blocking YouTube in 2012 following the release of a low-budget film that was critical of Islam. Websites for Baluch separatist movements in the country's southwest are also banned.

While attempts to access those sites result in a government message informing the user that the content has been blocked for viewership within Pakistan, clicking Laal's page (www.facebook.com/laalpak) or the other liberal pages instead re-directs a user towards their own home feed.

The ban was lifted on Friday as per post on the page, which says, Yes its true. We were banned. We fought back. And we won. We want to thank all our supporters who supported us on social media and the mainstream media. This was your victory. They say the people united can never be defeated. Today progressives proved their strength through their unity. They forced the authorities to retreat from the ban. This may be a very small victory in relation to all the problems that Pakistan faces today. But a victory nonetheless. Let us take confidence from this victory and continue our work to unban the other progressive pages that continue to suffer from censorship. And struggle for a progressive Pakistan. The struggle continues.