I suppose it was only a matter of time before my weekly postings of Jesus and Mo, which I’ve been putting up for years, were flagged as offensive. Someone in Pakistan filed a complaint (in bold below) that they were BLASPHEMOUS, and so WordPress contacted me with the following message (I’ve put the complaint in bold below). This is ridiculous, of course, but I have no control over it and will continue to post Jesus and Mo cartoons, which I suppose are also blocked in Pakistan on the artist’s original site. It’s just that the folks in Pakistan won’t be able to see them.
As for “hurting the sentiments of many Muslims,” it’s sad that the government of Pakistan can’t take criticism about their country’s main faith. But we already knew that. Although I have no hope that Pakistan will enter the Enlightenment during my lifetime, accepting freedom of the press and freedom of religion (which includes freedom to reject and criticism religion), I’ll just adopt the attitude, “Well, too bad for you. You may be offended by criticism of Islam, but that’s your problem, not mine.”
Here’s what I got from WordPress:
A Pakistan authority has issued a demand to block a file on your WordPress.com site:
Unfortunately, we must comply to keep WordPress.com accessible for everyone in Pakistan. We will not be challenging this demand, but if you wish to discuss what the legal avenues of appeal may be, please get in touch as soon as possible. There is usually a very short period of time in which objections can be lodged.
As a result of this demand, the file (below) [JAC: also above: it’s this week’s Jesus and Mo post] on your site is now inaccessible for Internet visitors originating from Pakistan. They will instead see a message explaining why the content was blocked.
Visitors from outside of Pakistan are not affected.
You and your readers may be interested in the following document for suggestions on bypassing Internet restrictions:
For your reference, we have included a copy of the complaint. No reply is necessary, but please let us know if you have any questions.
— BEGIN NOTICE —
Dear WordPress Team,
I am writing on behalf of Web Analysis Team of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) which has been designated for taking appropriate measures for regulating Internet Content in line with the prevailing laws of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
In lieu of above it is highlighted that few of the webpages hosted on your platform are extremely Blasphemous and are hurting the sentiments of many Muslims around Pakistan. The URL’s mentioned are clearly in violation of Section 37 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and Section 19 of Constitution of Pakistan.
The below mentioned websites can be found on following URL’s:-
You are requested to contribute towards maintaining peace and harmony in the world by discontinuation of hosting of these websites for viewership in Pakistan with immediate effect. We will be happy to entertain any query if deemed necessary and looking forward for your favorable response at your earliest.
Web Analysis Team
When Grania saw this, she made the following comment:
I am disappointed to see that WordPress is rushing to do their censorship for them.It is a US company (part of Automattic) and they are carrying out censorship against an American citizen in the USA for writing an article in the USA that was posted on a blog hosted in the USA on demand of jumped up little tyrants in Pakistan.