Afghanistan may ban Facebook if gov’t policies not considered within next 6 months

The Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Shahzad Aryobee has warned that the ministry will ban Facebook in Afghanistan if the government policies are not considered by Facebook Inc.

Speaking during a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Aryobee said a formal letter will be sent to Facebook Inc. to regulate Facebook activities in Afghanistan.

Aryobee further added that the ministry will specifically seek Facebook’s cooperation to block fake and unidentified accounts which are creating disturbances among Facebook subscribers in the country.

The warning regarding the possible ban of Facebook in Afghanistan was issued days after social media activists launched massive campaigns online, specifically in Facebook and Twitter against poor telecom and internet services in the country.

In regards to social media protests, Aryobee said the ministry will seriously follow the campaign #Where is Atra?, emphasizing that Afghanistan Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has made twenty commitments to improve telecommunications and internet services in the country and has taken practical steps regarding one of its commitments to establish a toll free number for complaints.

Aryobee admitted that authority has not taken practical steps regarding the remaining 19 commitments and the ministry has given 19-days deadline to the authority to fulfill its commitments, warning that failure to do so would force the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology to request the government bring ATRA under the umbrella of the ministry so that reforms could be incorporated or ATRA would be asked to abandon the compound of Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology so that people can have a better understanding the regarding the its duties, identity, and independence.

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