Twitter caves to Islamic censors, blocks ‘blasphemous’ content in Pakistan

Twitter betrays the promise of Internet freedom by blocking content deemed ‘“blasphemous” by Islamic censors in Pakistan.

Multiple reports indicate Twitter has been blocking so-called “blasphemous content” in Pakistan at the request of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.

The New York Times reports it is the first time Twitter has deployed its controversial country-specific censorship policy, first unveiled in 2012.

The Times goes on to report a number of Twitter accounts seemed to have been blocked in Pakistan in anticipation of the fourth annual “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” which occurred on May 20.

According to reports, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority sent in five or more petitions between May 5 and May 14, pointing to objectionable material it wanted Twitter to block. However, civil rights groups argue that the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority lacks the legal power to order such censorship.

Five of the requests that resulted in censorship this month included drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, images of burning Qurans, porn star Belle Knox of Duke fame, and tweets from anti-Islam bloggers.

While many abhor the censorship and submission to Islamic authority, Twitter and its supporters argue that it’s better to block certain tweets than have the entire site blocked. Previously the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority blocked Twitter for a day in May 2012 due to the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” drawing competition.

Twitter caves to Islamic censors


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