Main | Monday, November 21, 2011

PAKISTAN: Phone Companies To Block Texts Containing "Gay" & "Homosexual"

Pakistan's blogosphere is having a field day over a new government directive ordering phone companies to block more than 1700 words from text messages. Among the banned words are gay, lesbian, and homosexual. Also: Jesus Christ.
Operators have been directed to start blocking text messages containing these words from November 21. The move has been greeted with ridicule and derision, particularly by Pakistan's vociferous users of internet forums and micro-blogging sites like Twitter. Since the PTA's lists of offensive English and Urdu words and terms – containing 1,106 and 586 items respectively – became public a few days ago, it has become the butt of jokes on the web. While the English list has 148 items containing a four-letter swear word, it has had many scratching their heads by including words and terms like athlete's foot, deposit, black out, drunk, flatulence, glazed donut, harem, Jesus Christ, hostage, murder, penthouse, Satan and "flogging the dolphin".
Igor Volsky notes that homosexuality in Pakistan is a crime punishable by public whipping, imprisonment, and the death penalty.

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