Twitter blocks objectionable tweets at PTA request
NEW YORK: Twitter, the microblogging website, has blocked so-called “blasphemous” tweets five times at the request of Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) , the New York Times reported on Friday.
All the five requests were honoured by the company, meaning that Twitter users in Pakistan can no longer see the content that so disturbed the bureaucrat, Abdul Batin of the PTA — crude drawings of revered personages and photographs of burning copies of Quran.
The Times said the Twitter’s compliance with the PTA’s requests comes at a time when Pakistan is already confronted with multiple censorship challenges. At the same time, discussion on the country’s blasphemy laws has also become increasingly precarious with the targeting of secularists.
It is pertinent to mention that in May 2012, Twitter was briefly blocked in Pakistan over ‘blasphemous’ posts about a Facebook competition involving caricatures.
The website had been blocked by the PTA on the orders of the Ministry for Information Technology amid accusations it refused to remove messages about the Facebook contest.
The ban had sparked anger and many in Pakistan appeared to have found a way to circumvent the restrictions and post on the microblog regardless. In Pakistan, Twitter is used by prominent public figures such as celebrities, cricketers, cabinet ministers and members of parliament.