Pakistan Bans Twitter, Calls Tweets Offensive To Islam

Micro-blogging website Twitter has been banned in Pakistan after officials in the country called the networks many messages offensive to Islam.

The worst of the material to be posted included links to a Facebook competition which encourages people to post images of the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims find depictions of their prophet to be blasphemous even if they are favorable drawings. In some cases the death sentence or life in prison is handed down to people who draw pictures of Muhammad.

Officials in Pakistan have not said whether or not the site will go live again in the future although given the countries past of takes downs and reinstatement its like Twitter will suffer only a temporary shutdown. Pakistani officials had been working with Facebook to come up with filters that would remove questionable content from the website, however Twitter has not offered the same type of concessions.

Mohammad Yaseen, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication’s Authority says of officials talks with Twitter:

“We have been negotiating with them [Twitter] until last night, but they did not agree to remove the stuff, so we had to block it.”

Yaseen adds:

“The ministry officials are still trying to make them agree, and once they remove that stuff, the site will be unblocked.”

Pakistan’s ministry of information technology handed out directions to officials so they could block Twitter from general use.

While religious leaders in the country often speak out against Twitter it is a widely used platform that has been endorsed by the countries celebrities and even members of parliament.

Coming out in protest of the ban was Pakistani columnist Nadeem Paracha who wrote:

“Another cheap moral stunt by Pakistan.”

This isn’t the first time however that the Pakistani regime has blocked an American website, they have done the same to Youtube, Facebook, Flickr and Wikipedia in the past.

Do you think Pakistan’s blocking of Twitter feels like a cheap moral stunt?