After being kicked out of Pakistan, Facebook is not taking any chances. It has blocked the controversial “Everybody draw Mohammed Day!” page in India. “Out of respect for the local regulations, standards and customs, we have decided to restrict access to the ‘Everyone Draw Mohammed!’ page from India, after being contacted by authorities and reviewing the matter closely,” a spokeswoman for Facebook e-mailed to PCWorld.
It all started when Comedy Central censored the image of the prophet Muhammad in an episode of SouthPark, in response to threats from radical Islamists. Reacting to Comedy Central’s censorship, Jon Wellington created the Facebook page “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” and invited others to exercise their first amendment rights. Soon the initiative went viral and received massive response from all corners of the world. Unfortunately, it also provided a platform to Muslim-bashers to post offensive caricatures of the prophet.
Pakistan has already banned thousands of websites including Facebook and YouTube. In fact, a poll suggests that 70% of Pakistanis want Facebook to be banned permanently. India is unlikely to follow in Pakistan’s footsteps, however the growing cyber-censorship in India is bound to worry civil rights activists. Any freedom guaranteed by the constitution is subject to reasonable restrictions. The freedom of expression doesn’t provide the freedom to abuse and hurt the religious beliefs of another. There is always a thin line between use and abuse. Was this such an exceptional case? Was the Indian government justified in censoring Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”? Don’t forget to let us know what you think.