Yesterday the telecom authorities in Pakistan ordered a nationwide blocking of the entirety of Twitter, at the instruction of the country’s Ministry of Information. Twitter was accused of linking to a competition on Facebook that involved posting images of the prophet Muhammed–an act that is considered blasphemous in Islam. Facebook itself seems to have complied with Pakistan’s requests to block access to the pages within Pakistan, but Twitter refused to take down the links, and incurred the censorial wrath of the Information Ministry. Late yesterday local time access to Twitter was restored, but Twitter hadn’t complied–suggesting that the global backlash may have been responsible, and prompting a debate on Islamic influence in Pakistan’s official bodies. Iran, China, Egypt, Syria and other troubled states have experimented with censoring social media over the last year.
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