Twitter’s blocking of ‘blasphemous’ content in Pakistan raises questions

Twitter's blocking of 'blasphemous' content in Pakistan raises questions

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Twitter’s international censorship policy is being criticized for giving away too much power to those who have no authority to block content in in their countries

Twitter’s international policy on censorship appears to be quite reasonable at first glance and it states that if any country is having any trouble with the content on the site then it shall be blocked. This seems more reasonable as compared to the blockage of the entire website altogether. We can see the practical application of this policy if we take the example of Pakistan. So what has happened in Pakistan is that five requests from a government office have, for the first time, resulted in “blasphemous” and “unethical” tweets being blocked to Pakistani users — including crude drawings of the Prophet Muhammad.

This was quite a reasonable approach to handle things and the results were also not so drastic as it happened two years ago when the site was completely banned because of the display of inappropriate content. Some of us might think that Twitter is being ‘nice’ and ‘thoughtful’ but this step has been criticized a lot. Many think that with this move, Twitter has given just too much power to the would-be censors who, even within their own countries, don’t actually have any authority to block or delete content.

This criticism can be taken seriously because Twitter as such receives no threat of blockage from the agency which has been sending block content requests from Pakistan. It is apparently a telecoms regulator whose legal power to get involved in censorship has been refuted by civil rights groups.

source: nytimes

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