IHC questions government’s measures on stopping pornographic content

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday directed the federal government to submit a report on the measures taken to stop pornography in Pakistan, while also holding Hollywood movies and video games responsible for promoting pornography and violence.
A single-member bench comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, during the hearing of a petition filed against alleged uploading of objectionable material on social media, asked the Special Secretary Interior to tell the court how pornographic content gets proliferated in the country and “what the government has done to stop it”.
“The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has blocked 212 websites and 22,210 webpages,” replied the special secretary. “We have also held four meetings with all the stakeholders.”
“There is an entire international gang of pornography from whom the Zainabs and Kulsooms are not safe,” the judge remarked.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology also submitted in the court a draft of its proposed changes to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca), 2016, aimed at bringing blasphemy and pornography within the ambit of the cybercrime law.
Justice Siddiqui found several faults with the drafts, saying: “According to this draft, pornography is being given a freehand in educational institutions. [But] it does not have a definition of pornography. It doesn’t say what kind of literature is based on pornography.”
The judge said that there are some in the IT ministry whose mission is to make Pakistan a permissive society.
Justice Siddiqui said a bulk of the blame for the global proliferation of pornographic content and terrorism lies with Hollywood — the metonymic moniker of American cinema.
“The biggest hub of pornography and terrorism is Hollywood and Los Angeles,” the judge said. “Hollywood plays a central role in inciting of crimes and then our madressahs (seminaries) are blamed.”
“All video games for children are based on crimes. How planes are hijacked and how to commit murders — everything is taught comprehensively,” the judge said, referring to the age-old notion that violence in video games promote aggression and crimes in real life.
Justice Siddiqui took aim at the morning show culture, questioning why Pemra isn’t doing enough to curb “their destructive” material.
“Morning shows are causing destruction,” he said. “The channels whose morning shows are against our basic morals and Islamic teachings should be banned.”
“What is Pemra doing? Is it helpless?”
The high court also ordered the commissioning of a high-level committee to stop pornography’s proliferation.
“The committee should comprise representatives from ministries of information, IT, law and interior,” he said, adding: “That committee should also review foreign movies and ban the ones which are against Pakistani culture and morals.”

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