Pakistan might soon be taking away its citizens’ right to free speech via cellphones. A letter has emerged that shows that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is planning to ban words that it seems are obscene or offensive from text messages (SMS).
A scan of the letter (dated November 14, 2011) sent from Muhammad Talib Doger, Director General (Services) PTA, states that the filtering of content through SMS must be considered under the scope of “Protection from Spam, Unsolicited, Fraudulent and Obnoxious Communication Regulations, 2009″ and the SOPs laid down to control spamming. The letter is written with reference to a meeting held with mobile phone operators on October 18, 2011 in Islamabad.
PTA has ordered the implementation of the system within seven days of the issuance of the said letter. All operators have been asked to submit a monthly report to PTA regarding the number of blocked text messages.
The memo deems 586 Urdu words and 1,109 English words offensive or pornographic. Included in the list are words such as “intercourse,” “condom” and “breast,” as well as seemingly ordinary words like “period,” “hostage” and “flatulence.” Among the more bizarre are “monkey crotch,” “wuutang” and “Jesus Christ.”
Check the list from here –
Medical terms to be banned:
Daily usage words to be banned:
Religious terms to be banned:
LGBT terms to be banned:
Musicians/artists to be banned:
Yes, the ban is very real as the ban starts Nov 21.
Mobile phone companies Telenor Pakistan and Ufone confirmed to the BBC that the PTA has sent them a “dictionary” of banned words and expressions.
The PTA has reportedly ordered operators to begin screening text messages by 21 November.
Ufone say they are now working on how to block the offending words.
Next – Pakistan is going to ban porn!