Pakistan has restored access to Twitter after briefly blocking the microblog over the weekend, due to “blasphemous” posts about a Facebook competition involving caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. The website was blocked Sunday by the telecoms authority on the orders of the IT ministry amid accusations it refused to remove messages about the Facebook contest. [...]

Pakistan has restored access to Twitter after briefly blocking the microblog over the weekend, due to “blasphemous” posts about a Facebook competition involving caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. The website was blocked Sunday by the telecoms authority on the orders of the IT ministry amid accusations it refused to remove messages about the Facebook contest.


But the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) restored access to Twitter in the evening, several hours after it was cut off.
Facebook confirmed that it had blocked content in Pakistan after a request from the authorities.
“Out of respect for local laws, traditions and cultures, we may occasionally restrict (some content’s) visibility in the countries where it is illegal, as we have done in this case,” said a spokeswoman.
Speaking to AFP, Twitter said that it did not remove any content or make any changes at the service to get it restored but declined to comment further.
Twitter received a FAX message on Saturday from a minister in Pakistan saying that material deemed objectionable was at the website and the service would be suspended if action wasn’t taken, according to a source close to the situation.
Twitter policy is to comply with local laws regarding content at the service but the FAX message was not a court order, according to the source, who noted that Twitter was not told what prompted the decision to restore the service.
The ban had sparked anger, and many in Pakistan appeared to have found a way to circumvent the restrictions and post on the microblog regardless.
In Pakistan, Twitter is used by prominent public figures such as celebrities, cricketers, cabinet ministers and members of parliament.
Former president Pervez Musharraf, in exile in Britain, regularly tweets, as does Ali Zafar, the popular actor and musician. Imran Khan, the cricketer turned politician, is also on Twitter.
Pakistan blocked Facebook in May 2010 because of a competition organised by an anonymous user who called on people to draw the Prophet to promote “freedom of expression”.

Share This