Twitter blocks 'blasphemous' content on Pakistan's request

May 23 2014, 20:35 IST
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SummaryTwitter has blocked several tweets and accounts in Pakistan after officials asked it to prohibit access to "blasphemous" and "unethical" content.

Popular micro-blogging site Twitter has blocked several tweets and accounts in Pakistan after officials asked it to prohibit access to "blasphemous" and "unethical" content.

"We regularly send these request for banning of material which is blasphemous and this time Twitter complied and blocked some tweets and accounts," a Pakistan Telecommunications Authority official said.

Twitter honoured five requests including that of blocking the entire account of an American pornstar.

In its requests to Twitter, PTA described the content as "blasphemous" and "unethical" and said it violated the Pakistani penal code.

These content now cannot be seen in Pakistan. The blocking of these tweets in Pakistan is in line with Twitter's country-specific censorship policy uncovered in 2012.

It was the first time the social network has agreed to block content, though Pakistan had shut down Twitter in May 2012 for a day, along with Facebook, due to blasphemous content.

The ban had sparked anger among the users, who appeared to have found a way to circumvent the restrictions and post on the microblogging site.

YouTube has been closed since September 2012 after a controversial film was uploaded on it which was denounced by Muslims world over. The film provoked violent protests in Pakistan in which at least 20 people died.

The country's parliament on May 6 voted unanimously to lift a ban on YouTube, a move welcomed by free-speech supporters.

In Pakistan, where about 97 per cent of population is Muslim, religion is an extremely sensitive issue.

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan could entail death penalty.

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