Pakistan restored access to Twitter after block over Prophet Muhammad cartoons competition
Pakistan has finally restored access to leading micro-blogging website Twitter after briefly blocking the it over “blasphemous” posts involving caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, a competition on Facebook to post images of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Twitter spokesman Gabriel Stricker said the company had not taken down any tweets or made any other changes before Pakistan stopped blocking the site.
The tweets were promoting a competition on Facebook to post images of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, said Mohammad Yaseen, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication’s Authority. Many Muslims regard depictions of the prophet, even favorable ones, as blasphemous.
Twitter was unblocked at the orders of the country’s prime minister, interior minister Rehman Malik said in Twitter messages on Sunday, but he requested that anti-Islam material that hurts the feeling of people should be stopped on Twitter.
In a message later, Rehman Malik said the issue was taken up with the management of Twitter, but was declined. “Notice is now being served to twitter through Interpol to block such material,” he added.
Philip Crowley, who last year resigned as US State Department spokesman, wrote on the microblogging site: “Pakistan’s decision to block Twitter is another sign of the civilian government’s weakness.”
Ali Abbas Zaidi, a social activist and founder of the Pakistan Youth Alliance, tweeted: “#TwitterBanPakistan – What’s next? Banning pens, papers and ‘ideas’?”
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker, said: “We like being the butt of the world’s jokes: #Pakistan #TwitterBan.”
“Obviously we like it to ban twitter permanently nothing compromise against religious believe neither we like to abuse others religion nor we like to say about our religious person”, said Zeeshan Zafar (@syedzeeshanzafa), a brand identity designer based in Karachi, Pakistan.
Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch, said the ban was “ill-advised, counter-productive and will ultimately prove to be futile as all such attempts at censorship have proved to be”.
This is not the first time the PTA has blocked access to social networking sites, in 2010 access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other sites was blocked, also over content deemed blasphemous by Pakistan’s government.
What do you think about Twitter ban in Pakistan?
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