FB blocks PBC streaming


ISLAMABAD: Facebook has blocked live streaming of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation’s (PBC) news bulletins for “raising voice against continued atrocities, curfew and military lockdown in Indian occupied Kashmir,” media reported on Monday. However, it further reported that on the directives of News Director, temporary alternate arrangements have been made to continue live streaming of Radio Pakistan’s bulletins on YouTube. The posts in questions, screenshots of which have been uploaded to Radio Pakistan’s website, were news stories about the death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani in July and the curfew imposed after the death of Zakir Musa, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, in May.Importantly, Twitter has also been recently widely criticised after rights activists voiced serious concerns over the removal of hundreds of thousands of tweets which were critical of the Indian government’s policies in occupied Kashmir, Al Jazeera had reported in October. According to the Al Jazeera report, a study by a media watchdog had revealed that nearly one million tweets had been removed since 2017. “The micro-blogging site has been accused of suppressing freedom of expression in Kashmir after a study by the media watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), revealed that nearly one million tweets have been removed since 2017,” it had pointed out. More accounts were withheld in India in the second half of 2018 than in the rest of the world combined, according to Twitter’s transparency reports. The Muslim-majority region has been under a security lockdown and near-total communication blackout since August 5, when New Delhi scrapped Article 370 of the constitution, which granted Kashmir a measure of autonomy. In August, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, through his personal Twitter account, had said that Pakistani authorities have taken up with Twitter and Facebook the alleged suspension of Pakistani social media accounts posting in support of Kashmir. “Pakistan authorities have taken up the case with Twitter and Facebook against suspending Pakistani accounts for posting in support of Kashmir. Indian staff at their regional headquarters is the reason,” he had stated. He had also invited social media users to share information about accounts that have been suspended. Mr Ghafoor’s statement had come as #StopSuspendingPakistanis was trending on Twitter in Pakistan. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday termed the blocking of live streaming of Radio Pakistan’s news bulletins by Facebook “violation of a basic human right”.–Agencies