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social media crackdown stifles dissent in pakistan | freedom of the press news


islamabad, pakistan - when zafar achakzai, a journalist in the restive pakistani province of balochistan, heard a loud, insistent knocking on his door just before sunrise on june 25, he did not quite know what to expect.when he answered, he was met by about a dozen armed men, some in pakistani paramilitary uniforms."they ordered me to come with them," the 21-year-old reporter told al jazeera by telephone. "when we were some distance from my home, they blindfolded me, and then i was held at some unknown place."for hours, he remained in the dark. eventually, men came to ask him questions, to confirm his identity and take down details about his work. it was then that he asked them why he had been taken."i was told that i use facebook quite a lot. that is all that they said."achakzai was held






pakistan cracks down on social-media critics of military


pakistan’s government is cracking down on social media critics of the nation’s powerful military, a move many activists and opposition lawmakers say is aimed at suppressing free speech and political dissent.






pakistan cracks down on social-media critics of military


islamabad, pakistan—pakistan’s government is cracking down on social-media critics of the nation’s powerful military, a move many activists and opposition lawmakers say is aimed at suppressing free speech and political dissent.authorities targeted 27 users on facebook and twitter in the past week that allegedly criticized the military, interior minister chaudhry nisar ali khan said tuesday. mr. khan said eight of the 27 are being interviewed about their antimilitary posts, while the rest are being sought for questioning....






many organizations banned in pakistan thrive online


islamabad — it's dusk. the shadows of three men brandishing assault rifles welcome the reader to the facebook page of lashkar-e-islam, one of 65 organizations that are banned in pakistan, either because of terrorist links or as purveyors of sectarian hate.still more than 40 of these groups operate and flourish on social media sites, communicating on facebook, twitter, whatsapp and telegram, according to a senior official with pakistan's federal investigation agency, or fia, who is tasked with shutting down the sites. they use them to recruit, raise money and demand a rigid islamic system. it is also where they incite the sunni faithful against the country's minority shiites and extoll jihad, or holy war, in india-ruled kashmir and in afghanistan."it's like a party of the banned groups onli






many organizations banned in pakistan thrive online


islamabad (ap) — it’s dusk. the shadows of three men brandishing assault rifles welcome the reader to the facebook page of lashkar-e-islam, one of 65 organizations that are banned in pakistan, either because of terrorist links or as purveyors of sectarian hate.still more than 40 of these groups operate and flourish on social media sites, communicating on facebook, twitter, whatsapp and telegram, according to a senior official with pakistan’s federal investigation agency, or fia, who is tasked with shutting down the sites. they use them to recruit, raise money and demand a rigid islamic system. it is also where they incite the sunni faithful against the country’s minority shiites and extoll jihad, or holy war, in india-ruled kashmir and in afghanistan.“it’s like a party of the banned groups






pakistan asks facebook to help fight blasphemy


image copyrightepaimage caption protests urging authorities to block social media sites spreading blasphemy have been held in pakistan pakistan says it has asked facebook to help investigate "blasphemous content" posted on the social network by pakistanis.facebook has agreed to send a team to pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site, according to the interior ministry. blasphemy is a highly sensitive and incendiary issue in pakistan. critics say blasphemy laws, which allow the death penalty in some cases, are often misused to oppress minorities.earlier this week pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif voiced his support for a wide-ranging crackdown on blasphemous content on social media. in a statement on his party's official twitter account, he described blasp






pakistan asks facebook to help fight blasphemy


image copyrightepaimage caption protests urging authorities to block social media sites spreading blasphemy have been held in pakistan pakistan says it has asked facebook to help investigate "blasphemous content" posted on the social network by pakistanis.facebook has agreed to send a team to pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site, according to the interior ministry. blasphemy is a highly sensitive and incendiary issue in pakistan. critics say blasphemy laws, which allow the death penalty in some cases, are often misused to oppress minorities.earlier this week pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif voiced his support for a wide-ranging crackdown on blasphemous content on social media. in a statement on his party's official twitter account, he described blasp






pakistan asks facebook to help fight blasphemy


image copyrightepaimage caption protests urging authorities to block social media sites spreading blasphemy have been held in pakistan pakistan says it has asked facebook to help investigate "blasphemous content" posted on the social network by pakistanis.facebook has agreed to send a team to pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site, according to the interior ministry. blasphemy is a highly sensitive and incendiary issue in pakistan. critics say blasphemy laws, which allow the death penalty in some cases, are often misused to oppress minorities.earlier this week pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif voiced his support for a wide-ranging crackdown on blasphemous content on social media. in a statement on his party's official twitter account, he described blasp






facebook must reject pakistan's repressive demands


the rulers of pakistan have stepped up a campaign against blasphemy. that’s frightening news from an islamic nation where insulting the official religion is a capital crime.from an american perspective, this would merely be a distant nation’s horror but for one thing: silicon valley’s tech industry.as part of the crackdown, pakistani leaders have asked executives of facebook and twitter to help them help root out people who post blasphemous material on social media sites from anywhere in the world.facebook has not commented publicly on the issue, but a pakistani official says the company will be sending a team to discuss the government’s request. more recently, pakistan’s interior ministry claimed facebook’s administrators have been blocking and removing blasphemous content.facebook should






pakistan asks facebook to help fight blasphemy


image copyrightepaimage caption protests urging authorities to block social media sites spreading blasphemy have been held in pakistan pakistan says it has asked facebook to help investigate "blasphemous content" posted on the social network by pakistanis.facebook has agreed to send a team to pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site, according to the interior ministry. blasphemy is a highly sensitive and incendiary issue in pakistan. critics say blasphemy laws, which allow the death penalty in some cases, are often misused to oppress minorities.earlier this week pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif voiced his support for a wide-ranging crackdown on blasphemous content on social media. in a statement on his party's official twitter account, he described blasp






many organizations banned in pakistan thrive online


islamabad (ap) — a senior pakistani government official says that more than 40 out of 65 organizations banned in pakistan operate on flourishing social media sites, communicating on facebook, twitter, whatsapp and telegram.they use their sites to recruit, raise money and demand a rigid islamic system. even as these groups thrive online, pakistan is waging a cyber war against activists and journalists who use social media to criticize the government and its agencies.the official says that “it’s like a party of the banned groups online.” he spoke on condition his name not be used because agency officials are not allowed to be quoted by name.meanwhile, pakistan is waging a cyber crackdown on activists and journalists who use social media to criticize the government, the military or the intell






pakistan to meet facebook over 'blasphemy' posts | pakistan news


pakistan will punish social media companies that fail to take action against online blasphemy, the interior minister said, adding that he had requested a meeting with facebook to discuss the issue.pakistan's government wants social media networks to remove material deemed insulting to islam or the prophet muhammad, and prime minister nawaz sharif last week warned those posting such content would be "strictly punished"."[blasphemy] is not only a problem for pakistan. this is an issue about the honour of every muslim," said interior minister chaudhry nisar ali khan, who is also seeking to meet ambassadors from other muslim countries to tackle the problem."if we do not get a response from social media, i do not care about anyone, there is nothing greater than our faith. if social media and es






pakistan to meet facebook over 'blasphemy' posts | pakistan news


pakistan will punish social media companies that fail to take action against online blasphemy, the interior minister said, adding he requested a meeting with facebook to discuss the issue.pakistan's government wants social media networks to remove material deemed insulting to islam or the prophet muhammad, and prime minister nawaz sharif last week warned those posting such content would be "strictly punished"."[blasphemy] is not only a problem for pakistan. this is an issue about the honour of every muslim," said interior minister chaudhry nisar ali khan, who is also seeking to meet ambassadors from other muslim countries to tackle the problem."if we do not get a response from social media, i do not care about anyone, there is nothing greater than our faith. if social media and especially






pakistani crackdown on online anti-army campaigners | news


dozens of social media users in pakistan have been detained or interrogated by the federal investigation agency (fia) for posting 'anti-military' content, opposition parties and activists say.on friday, the fia reportedly compiled a list of 33 social media users for carrying out propaganda against the army, a report in the nation said. interior minister chaudhry nisar ali khan had earlier asked authorities to take stern action against social media users posting negative content to malign the armed forces, according to radio pakistan.analyst discusses disappearance of pakistani bloggersat least 23 pakistan tehreek-e-insaaf (pti) supporters were detained and threatened with action under the prevention of electronic crime act, fawad hussain chauhdry, a spokesman for the party, told afp news a






pakistani crackdown on online anti-army campaigners | news


dozens of social media users in pakistan have been detained or interrogated by the federal investigation agency (fia) for posting 'anti-military' content, opposition parties and activists say.on friday, the fia reportedly compiled a list of 33 social media users for carrying out propaganda against the army, a report in the nation said. interior minister chaudhry nisar ali khan had earlier asked authorities to take stern action against social media users posting negative content to malign the armed forces, according to radio pakistan.analyst discusses disappearance of pakistani bloggersat least 23 pakistan tehreek-e-insaaf (pti) supporters were detained and threatened with action under the prevention of electronic crime act, fawad hussain chauhdry, a spokesman for the party, told afp news a






authorities ask facebook to help fight blasphemy | pakistan news


islamabad, pakistan - pakistani authorities have contacted social media website facebook for help in investigating the posting of "blasphemous content" on the platform by pakistanis, according to a statement.blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in pakistan. insulting the prophet muhammad carries a judicial death sentence and, increasingly commonly, the threat of extrajudicial murder by right-wing vigilantes.at least 68 people have been killed in connection with blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to a tally maintained by al jazeera."there have been positive developments in the matter of the pakistani government's contact with facebook's management regarding the blocking of blasphemous content," an interior ministry spokesperson said in a statement on thursday. read more: in pa






blasphemy charges create climate of fear for pakistani media


islamabad — ahmad waqas goraya couldn't see anything through the black hood, but he could hear the screams.a pakistani blogger with a penchant for criticizing pakistan's powerful military and taking the government to task, goraya was kidnapped in january along with four other bloggers."i could hear the screams of torture," he said, struggling for words as the memories flooded back. "i don't even want to think about what they did."but that wasn't the worst of it, he said in a telephone interview with the associated press. more terrifying was the accusation of blasphemy __ punishable by death in pakistan __ hurled at him and his fellow bloggers. they were held in what goraya called a "black site" on the edge of lahore that some say is run by pakistan's powerful intelligence agency.analysts a






blasphemy charges create climate of fear for pakistani media


islamabad (ap) — ahmad waqas goraya couldn’t see anything through the black hood, but he could hear the screams.a pakistani blogger with a penchant for criticizing pakistan’s powerful military and taking the government to task, goraya was kidnapped in january along with four other bloggers.“i could hear the screams of torture,” he said, struggling for words as the memories flooded back. “i don’t even want to think about what they did.”but that wasn’t the worst of it, he said in a telephone interview with the associated press. more terrifying was the accusation of blasphemy __ punishable by death in pakistan __ hurled at him and his fellow bloggers. they were held in what goraya called a “black site” on the edge of lahore that some say is run by pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency.most






saudi arabia arrests 22 for spreading online videos | saudi arabia news


saudi arabia has arrested 22 people, including a qatari national, for "inciting against public order" on social media, authorities said, following a crackdown on dissent.those detained had posted video clips online, the official saudi press agency reported on thursday, adding that authorities were investigating their motives and connections."the presidency managed to identify the people behind the clips and arrested them. their number is 22 people, one of them qatari, and the rest are saudis. their motives and links are being verified," spa said.they were arrested for circulating "video clips on social networking sites inciting against public order and stirring up feelings", spa added without any further details.saudi arabia recently launched a crackdown on dissenters, detaining prominent






pakistan: death penalty for blasphemy on facebook | pakistan news


a pakistani court has sentenced to death a man who allegedly committed blasphemy on facebook, a prosecutor said, in the first such case involving social media.the conviction of taimoor raza, 30, came after a high-profile crackdown against blasphemy on social media by the government of prime minister nawaz sharif.blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in muslim-majority pakistan, where insulting the prophet muhammad is a capital crime for which dozens are sitting on death row. even mere accusations are enough to spark mass uproar and mob justice.shafiq qureshi, public prosecutor in bahawalpur, south of provincial capital lahore, said raza was convicted for allegedly making derogatory remarks against prophet muhammad, his wives and companions. read more: pakistan - murder in god's name "an an






pakistan: death penalty for blasphemy on facebook | pakistan news


a pakistani court has sentenced to death a man who allegedly committed blasphemy on facebook, a prosecutor said, in the first such case involving social media.the conviction of taimoor raza, 30, came after a high-profile crackdown against blasphemy on social media by the government of prime minister nawaz sharif.blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in muslim-majority pakistan, where insulting the prophet muhammad is a capital crime for which dozens are sitting on death row. even mere accusations are enough to spark mass uproar and mob justice.shafiq qureshi, public prosecutor in bahawalpur, south of provincial capital lahore, said raza was convicted for allegedly making derogatory remarks against prophet muhammad, his wives and companions. read more: pakistan - murder in god's name "an an






saudi arabia arrests 22 for spreading online videos | saudi arabia news


saudi arabia has arrested 22 people, including a qatari national, for "inciting against public order" on social media, authorities said, following a crackdown on dissent.those detained had posted video clips online, the official saudi press agency reported on thursday, adding that authorities were investigating their motives and connections."the presidency managed to identify the people behind the clips and arrested them. their number is 22 people, one of them qatari, and the rest are saudis. their motives and links are being verified," spa said.they were arrested for circulating "video clips on social networking sites inciting against public order and stirring up feelings", spa added without any further details.saudi arabia recently launched a crackdown on dissenters, detaining prominent






pakistan: death penalty for blasphemy on facebook | pakistan news


a pakistani court has sentenced to death a man who allegedly committed blasphemy on facebook, a prosecutor said, in a first such case that involves social media.the conviction of taimoor raza, 30, came after a high-profile crackdown against blasphemy on social media by the government of prime minister nawaz sharif.blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in muslim-majority pakistan, where insulting the prophet muhammad is a capital crime for which dozens are sitting on death row. even mere accusations are enough to spark mass uproar and mob justice.shafiq qureshi, public prosecutor in bahawalpur, south of provincial capital lahore, said raza was convicted for allegedly making derogatory remarks against prophet muhammad, his wives and companions. read more: pakistan - murder in god's name "an






authorities ask facebook to help fight blasphemy | pakistan news


islamabad, pakistan - pakistani authorities have contacted social media website facebook for help in investigating the posting of "blasphemous content" on the platform by pakistanis, according to a statement."there have been positive developments in the matter of the pakistani government's contact with facebook's management regarding the blocking of blasphemous content," said an interior ministry spokesperson in a statement on thursday.blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in pakistan. insulting the prophet muhammad carries a judicial death sentence and, increasingly commonly, the threat of extrajudicial murder by right-wing vigilantes.at least 68 people have been killed in connection with blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to a tally maintained by al jazeera. read more: in pa






nawaz sharif orders ban on 'blasphemous content' online | pakistan news


pakistan's prime minister nawaz sharif has ordered the immediate removal and blocking of all online content deemed to be "blasphemous" to islam from social media - and for those responsible to be prosecuted.tuesday's order came in the wake of ongoing hearings at the islamabad high court in a case seeking the blocking of all internet content deemed to be "blasphemous"."the [posting of] blasphemous content on social media is an unclean attempt to play with the feelings of the muslim ummah [community]," sharif said in a statement.  "effective steps must be taken immediately to remove and block this material."pakistan's telecommunications regulator currently blocks hundreds of websites, including those run by ethnic baloch dissidents, as well as sites containing pornography or material deemed






nawaz sharif orders ban on 'blasphemous content' online | pakistan news


pakistan's prime minister nawaz sharif has ordered the immediate removal and blocking of all online content deemed to be "blasphemous" to islam from social media - and for those responsible to be prosecuted.tuesday's order came in the wake of ongoing hearings at the islamabad high court in a case seeking the blocking of all internet content deemed to be "blasphemous"."the [posting of] blasphemous content on social media is an unclean attempt to play with the feelings of the muslim ummah [community]," sharif said in a statement.  "effective steps must be taken immediately to remove and block this material."pakistan's telecommunications regulator currently blocks hundreds of websites, including those run by ethnic baloch dissidents, as well as sites containing pornography or material deemed






pakistan: zafar achakzai charged for anti-army post | pakistan news


islamabad, pakistan - a pakistani journalist arrested last week at his home in the southwestern city of quetta has been charged with allegedly posting illegal material on facebook, rights groups and his family said.armed men, some in paramilitary uniform and others in plainclothes, broke down the door to zafar achakzai's home on june 25 and arrested him, achakzai's father told al jazeera.he was handed over to the federal investigation agency on thursday and charged under the pakistan electronic crimes act (peca), said naimat achakzai.provincial government officials did not respond to al jazeera's requests for comment on the case.the detention is the latest in a series of arrests targeting journalists and social media activists for criticising the country's powerful military, which has rule






pakistan: zafar achakzai charged for anti-army post | pakistan news


islamabad, pakistan - a pakistani journalist arrested last week at his home in the southwestern city of quetta has been charged with allegedly posting illegal material on facebook, rights groups and his family said.armed men, some in paramilitary uniform and others in plainclothes, broke down the door to zafar achakzai's home on june 25 and arrested him, achakzai's father told al jazeera.he was handed over to the federal investigation agency on thursday and charged under the pakistan electronic crimes act (peca), said naimat achakzai.provincial government officials did not respond to al jazeera's requests for comment on the case.the detention is the latest in a series of arrests targeting journalists and social media activists for criticising the country's powerful military, which has rule






donald trump vows to fight fake news with poland's president


if president donald trump needs a tag-team partner for future wwe-style takedowns of news outlets, he might have found an ally in andrzej duda. the polish president has been accused of trying to suppress his country’s media outlets and has himself tweeted about the battle against “fake news” (like trump, in all caps).trump spent the first leg of his european trip shaking hands and smiling with the center-right president of poland – although what some perceived as a snub by duda’s wife quickly became the subject of some international twitter banter.but later, in another of what has become trump’s routine disruption of the unwritten rules of the u.s. presidency, he went back on the offensive about the media.“we will fight the #fakenews with you!” trump said in response to duda’s tweet about






pakistan blasphemy: the student lynched for being a humanist


pakistani student mashal khan was killed by a mob on a university campus after being accused of blasphemy against islam.his father says there is no freedom of expression in the country.pakistan student killed over 'blasphemy'pakistan tackles facebook on blasphemy what are pakistan's blasphemy laws?






secretary tillerson urges pakistan crackdown on militant havens


islamabad, pakistan—the u.s. pressed pakistan for the elimination of havens for militants within its territory, according to american and pakistani officials, in a meeting tuesday between pakistani leadership and the visiting u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson.however, prime minister shahid khaqan abbasi insisted to mr. tillerson that there are no terrorist sanctuaries in pakistan, according to pakistani officials, and mr. abbasi pledged to cooperate with the u.s. to stabilize afghanistan. ...






what is unesco-al jazeera's journalism matters project? |


paris, france - as journalists prepare to mark world press freedom day on may 3, there is much to discuss.why are journalists still being killed with impunity? can the media, increasingly demonised by political leaders, survive? how should reporters cover the far right? what will become of the battle against fake news?al jazeera, in consultation with unesco, is launching journalism matters - a space where these questions will be addressed.in the run-up to world press freedom day, we will be sharing critical analysis and reflections from international journalists and experts.you can join the conversation too, using the #wpfd2017 hashtag on social media.as they attended unesco's "journalism under fire: challenges of our time" conference recently in paris, guy berger, unesco's director of fre






'modi is god's gift to pakistan security establishment' | pakistan


in january, five pakistani activists disappeared. some were picked up from their homes, others from their place of work. one man went missing while searching for a house to rent for his family.their crimes remain unclear. roughly three weeks later, four of them were released, but not charged with an offence. some have spoken of being tortured by pakistan's powerful military and intelligence agencies. others have chosen not to speak at all, bound to silence by those who abducted them.for those who have spoken out, the reason for their abduction appears to be that they were linked to facebook pages or social media accounts that were criticising the military's policies and the religious right, or for espousing the cause of persecuted minorities.mohammed hanif is a pakistani journalist and wri






'modi is god's gift to pakistan security establishment' | pakistan


in january, five pakistani activists disappeared. some were picked up from their homes, others from their place of work. one man went missing while searching for a house to rent for his family.their crimes remain unclear. roughly three weeks later, four of them were released, but not charged with an offence. some have spoken of being tortured by pakistan's powerful military and intelligence agencies. others have chosen not to speak at all, bound to silence by those who abducted them.for those who have spoken out, the reason for their abduction appears to be that they were linked to facebook pages or social media accounts that were criticising the military's policies and the religious right, or for espousing the cause of persecuted minorities.mohammed hanif is a pakistani journalist and wri






facebook meets pakistan government after blasphemy death sentence


a senior facebook official met with pakistan’s interior minister on friday to discuss a demand the company prevent blasphemous content or be blocked.the meeting comes after a pakistani counter-terrorism court sentenced a 30-year-old man to death for making blasphemous comments on facebook, part of a wider crack-down.joel kaplan, facebook’s vice president of public policy, met interior minister nisar ali khan, who offered to approve a facebook office in pakistan, which has 33 million users of the network.khan said pakistan believes in freedom of expression, but that does not include insulting islam or stoking religious tensions.“we cannot allow anyone to misuse social media for hurting religious sentiments,” khan said.facebook called the meeting “constructive”.“facebook met with pakistan of






pakistan seeks apology from radical tv host over hate speech


islamabad (ap) — pakistan’s media watchdog has imposed a fine and sought an on-air and written apology from a radical islamic preacher-turned tv host for accusing five bloggers and human right activists of committing blasphemy in his show in january.in a statement, the pakistan electronic media regulatory authority, or pemra, said amir liaquat was found guilty of making a hate speech against the five activists.liaquat works at the country’s bol television and pemra wants him to offer an apology to all the bloggers before march 31 to avoid a ban. the five men briefly went missing in january amid allegations some of them were linked to the sharing of content against islam and the pakistan military.pakistan is still conducting an investigation of material insulting to islam on social media si






chile: deadly wildfires displace thousands | chile news


raging forest fires in central-south chile have killed at least 11 people, displaced thousands and destroyed entire villages, according to the government.the burn area has doubled over the past two days to 3,870 square kilometres, according to the national forestry agency conaf.it said 130 fires were still burning in the centre and south of the country, with 61 out of control. high temperatures of more than 35 degrees celsius and strong winds also were hindering attempts to douse them.so far five firefighters, two policemen and three local residents have been killed while battling the blazes."we have never seen something of this size, never in chile's history. and the truth is the [firefighting] forces are doing everything that is humanly possible and will continue to do so until the fires