Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Pakistan cracks down on ‘immoral’ cellphone love chat

AFP, ISLAMABAD

“[The PTA] should mind its own business,” it said.

The PTA defends the move as a response to public anger, but the ban has raised fears about growing censorship in Pakistan.

The government frequently shuts down mobile networks to prevent militant attacks and access to YouTube has been blocked for a year over a low-budget US film deemed offensive to Islam.

In November 2011, the PTA also tried to ban nearly 1,700 “obscene” words from text messages, which included innocuous terms such as “lotion,” “athlete’s foot” and “idiot.”

In 2010, Pakistan shut down Facebook for nearly two weeks over blasphemy and continues to restrict hundreds of online links.

Independent technology think-tank Bytes for All, Pakistan, said that the fresh ban was a violation of human rights.

“Any regulation on the basis of ‘morals’ falls under moral policing, which is unjustified, undemocratic, dictatorial and a violation of fundamental rights,” Bytes for All coordinator of advocacy and outreach Pakistan Furhan Hussain said.

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