Twitter blocks access to “blasphemous” content in Pakistan after PTA requests

Twitter blocks access to “blasphemous” content in Pakistan after PTA requests

With Pakistani officials having requested Twitter to withhold access to "blasphemous" and "unethical" content, dozens of tweets and accounts for users in Pakistan have been blocked by the microblogging site.

At least five requests for blocking of content were submitted by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to Twitter between May 5 and May 14. In its requests, the PTA had urged Twitter to deny access to certain tweets and accounts for users in the country.

The PTA had elaborated in its requests that the content which it was asking the site to block was blasphemous" and "unethical." With the content also including pictures of the Quran being desecrated, the PTA had asserted that the content violated the Pakistani Penal Code.

It is apparently for the first time that Twitter has blocked "blasphemous" content particularly for Pakistani users. However, Twitter has been shut down by the Pakistani officials in the past, including a complete blocking of the site for a brief period in May 2012.

Meanwhile, according to a PTA official, the authorities in the country regularly request popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to remove offensive content.

Towards that end, the official told AFP about the PTA's recent requests to Twitter: "We had requested Twitter to remove the unethical and blasphemous tweets and searches and it is good that they have taken action."

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