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Senators want Facebook blocked until results

Senators want Facebook blocked until results

Jun 22, 2014 - 17:24

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): As the political stalemate persists, the Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon on Sunday asked the government to block Facebook until the fate of the June 14 runoff presidential election became known.

Preliminary results from the runoff contest between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai are expected on July 2 and final results on July 22, amid growing acrimony among their supporters.

Abdullah’s team has accused Ghani’s team of committing fraud during the decisive election. In response, Ghani’s team has demanded investigation into fraud claims by the electoral bodies, which Abdullah said he did not trust.

Supporters of presidential contenders had testy exchanges on Facebook and other social media websites, fuelling ethnic differences among the masses.

The Ministry of Interior has also expressed deep concern at the growing acrimony among ordinary people on social media.

The Meshrano Jirga or upper house on Sunday discussed the issue. Anar Kali Hunaryar, a representative of the Hindu-Sikh minority in the assembly, told lawmakers that supporters of rival candidates even used insulting words against each other.

“In other countries, Facebook is used to do good things like mustering people’s support by candidates, but in Afghanistaninfo-icon, an ethnic war has been waged on the site,” she lamented.

She urged the Ministry of Communications to block Facebook until results from the election were announced.

Similar views were expressed by Mohammad Amin Ahmadi from southern Ghazni province. He said anti-Islamiyat (anti-Muslimhood) and inhumane expressions were being made on Facebook walls.

“After the presidential runoff election, a high scale character assassination campaign has been launched on Facebook, which should be blocked with immediate effect,” the lawmaker demanded.

Other senators also held similar views. But chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said he would not agree to blocking Facebook. However, he said those used the social media should adhere to Islamic and human values.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) on Saturday announced a plan to block fake social media accounts of government officials.

But Nasrat Rahimi, the MCIT spokesman, scotched speculation about blocking Facebook and other social media websites. Some users might have lost access to their accounts due to technical problems, he said.

Rahimi added MCIT had been working on a strategy for blocking officials’ fake accounts. Work on the plan started after complaints from government officials about phony accounts in their names.



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