Pakistan shelves ‘obscene’ text message ban

News article, posted 11.25.2011, from Pakistan, in:
Pakistan shelves ‘obscene’ text message ban (Photo: Dawn.com)

Summary: The Pakistan Telecommunication Agency (PTA) has delayed implementing a ban on text messages containing "obscene" words. On November 14, the PTA sent a list of over a 1,000 English and Urdu words it deemed "obscene" to cell phone companies ordering them to block text messages which contained them. The list included both sexually explicit terms and swear words and other less "obscene" ones such as idiot, headlights, Jesus Christ, lotion, tampon, harder, fairy and robber. The notice termed the move legal, citing the Pakistan Telecommunication Act of 1996 which prohibits the transmission of messages which are "false, fabricated, indecent or obscene". Mobile phone operators were given a deadline of seven days in which to implement the ban, a deadline which was not upheld. According to latest news reports the PTA and cell phone companies are currently involved in discussions regarding the ban. A final decision is pending but for the moment the government appears to have backtracked on the ban.