Pakistani bureaucrat Abdul Batin of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (P.T.A.) has requested that Twitter block tweets and feeds that the organization deemed “blasphemous.” Twitter has heeded Batin’s request; Pakistani citizens no longer have access to certain material including messages, photos, and drawings that mock Islam.
Twitter complied with the demands, saying that it would prefer to block some content from users in Pakistan, than have the site blocked entirely, The New York Times reports.
Prior to this case, Twitter has blocked content from other on request. A contemporary Nazi group in Germany is blocked from German users, and an pro-Ukrainian group’s posts were blocked in Russia this week.
Global policy analyst Eva Galperin criticized the social media outlet’s decision to block content in Russia. “If Twitter won’t stand up for political speech in a country where independent media is increasingly under attack, what will it stand for?” she said.
In Pakistan, civil rights group Bolo Bhi is concerned that the P.T.A. does not have the authority to “restrict content on the Internet.” Still, the organization has created a web page where citizens can report additional blasphemous material to authorities.
Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws have led to an increasing number of arrests and murders.
Publication date: May 23, 2014