Wednesday 26 July 2017

Pakistan orders ban on rude texts

Telecoms regulators in Pakistan have issued a list of words banned from text messages
Telecoms regulators in Pakistan have issued a list of words banned from text messages

People sending texts in Pakistan could find their messages blocked if they use swear words or sexually-explicit language.

The country's telecommunications authority has written to mobile phone firms with a list of more than 1,500 English and Urdu words to be blocked, said Anjum Nida Rahman, a spokeswoman for Telenor Pakistan.

She said it was part of the regulator's attempt to block spam messages.

Many of the words were swear words or sexually explicit. But the reason for blocking others, such as Jesus Christ and headlights, was less clear.

The letter gives companies seven days to implement the order.

The list also included words such as fart, idiot and tampon.

Ms Rahman said: "It's a big issue, so it is being examined carefully from all points of view."

The letter said the order was legal under a 1996 law preventing people from sending information through the telecommunications system that is "false, fabricated, indecent or obscene".

It also stated that free speech can be restricted "in the interest of the glory of Islam".

Under pressure from Islamists, Pakistan has blocked pornographic websites and ones deemed anti-Islamic. Last year, it temporarily banned Facebook because of material on the site considered offensive to Islam.

Press Association

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