Pakistan bans Twitter, citing blasphemous content
Pakistan’s government on Sunday morning blocked the social media website Twitter, saying the micro-blogging platform refused to remove blasphemous content against Islam.
The offending tweets, according to Pakistani officials, involved a contest to draw cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims consider any depiction of the prophet to be blasphemy.
Pakistan’s newly-appointed Minister for Information Technology, Raja Pervez Ashraf, issued a blanket ban on the site inside the country, upping the pressure on Twitter as negotiations continue.
Censorship is nothing new in Pakistan, but often it surrounds matters tied to the country’s powerful security establishment. In this case, activists suspect the democratically-elected civilian government is using the sensitive topic of blasphemy as cover for constricting the space for political debate ahead of national elections.