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Twitter blocked in Pakistan for hours for not removing Islam-offensive tweets

Published: 23/05/2012 02:30:00 AM GMT
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Islamabad: A popular social networking website, Twitter, was blocked by the Pakistani authorities as the Twitter management refused to remove the tweets demonizing Islam and its Holy personalities.

By Farhan Iqbal


Islamabad: A popular social networking website, Twitter, was blocked by the Pakistani authorities as the Twitter management refused to remove the tweets demonizing Islam and its Holy personalities.

According to a top telecommunications official of Pakistan, Twitter had to face ban in the country for several hours due to its rigidness in respecting Islam and not blocking the Islam-offensive content in the country.

The Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), Muhammad Yaseen, informed that there were tweets on the social networking website which were promoting a competition on another popular social networking website, Facebook, to post images of the Muslims’ beloved Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

Imaging the Prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam and it is considered, unanimously, a blasphemy by all the Muslims of the world.

However, the Government of Pakistan restored Twitter services before Sunday midnight after about eight hours it initially blocked the website in the country. The reason of restoration could be the public pressure on the government due to its censorship policies.

Twitter spokesman, Gabriel Stricker, said that the website had not removed any tweets or made any other changes before Pakistan restored access to the website in the country.

PTA Chairman said that Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology ordered the telecommunications authority at Sunday afternoon to block Twitter services nationwide because the management of Twitter had refused the request of the Pakistani government to remove the offending tweets.

On Sunday evening, he added, PTA received orders from the ministry to restore access to the blocked website. But he was unable to comment what could be the reason that persuaded the government for restoration.

He informed that the Pakistani government had requested the similar kind of demand to the management of Facebook where the blasphemous competition originally took place.

However, Facebook respected the request of Pakistan and its Muslim citizens unlike Twitter and blocked the offensive content in Pakistan which was against Islam and its Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), he added.

Facebook confirmed in a written statement that it had blocked access to the content in Pakistan. The statement also mentioned that it occasionally restricts content when it is illegal or offensive out of respect for local laws and culture.

Facebook has faced ban in Pakistan on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2010 as the similar kind of competition on the website drew heavy criticism by the Muslims of the country. Facebook had to block the blasphemous pages in Pakistan then its services were restored in Pakistan after two-week ban.

Since then, the Government of Pakistan has been monitoring the major websites for any hated content against Islam and taking actions against them by blocking their access in the country.



Twitter was blocked in Pakistan for hours

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