What Does ‘Intercourse’, ‘Monkey Crotch,’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ Have In Common?
Texters in Pakistan could find their messages blocked if they use swear words or sexually explicit language.
The country’s telecommunications authority has written to mobile phone firms with a list of more than 1,500 English and Urdu words to be blocked, said Anjum Nida Rahman, a spokeswoman for Telenor Pakistan.
She said it was part of the regulator’s attempt to block spam messages.
While many of the words are obscene and sexually explicit, others have left Western analysts scratching their heads.
Words that have an uncomfortable medical connotation – such as ‘period’ and ‘tampon‘, or ‘fart’ and ‘flatulence’ – have been added to the banned list.
‘Intercourse’, ‘condom’ and ‘breast’ may be borderline words for a sensitive audience, but ‘idiot‘ and ‘headlights’ suggest that the authority might be taking things too far.
And then there’s ‘monkey crotch’.
The letter gives companies seven days to implement the order.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority refused to comment on the initiative but Ms Rahman said: ‘It’s a big issue, so it is being examined carefully from all points of view.’
The letter said the order was legal under a 1996 law preventing people from sending information through the telecommunications system that is ‘false, fabricated, indecent or obscene’.
It also stated that free speech could be restricted ‘in the interest of the glory of Islam’, which explains why ‘Jesus Christ’ is on the banned list.
Under pressure from Islamists, Pakistan has blocked pornographic websites and ones deemed anti-Islamic. Last year, it temporarily banned Facebook because of material on the site considered offensive to Islam.
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