Pakistan steps into absurdsville by banning words: DailyNovember 21st, 2011 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Nov 21 (IANS) Pakistan has stepped into “absurdsville” by moving to block some 1,500 words from text messages, said a daily.
Daily Times editorially said Monday that it seems once again the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has got carried away.
“The latest draconian move… has been to issue notices to cell phone carriers to block some 1,500 words - in English and in Urdu - from all text messages. The list is extensive and most of the words are quite explicit.
“However, they are still words and that means they add to the vocabulary of what constitutes freedom of speech.”
It said the inclusion of some of the words “make no sense whatsoever: murder, gay, homosexual, Jesus Christ, hole, athlete’s foot, etc”.
“It looks like the PTA has just stepped into adsurdsville and there is no turning back. ‘Gay’ does not have to have anything to do with sexual orientation because in its traditional sense it means to be merry.”
It wondered: “Are we really so intolerant a society now that words - just words - that denote homosexuality and other religions need to be banned? How ludicrous is this scenario?”
The editorial went on to say that it was clear the mindset behind this move is the same one that was behind the attempt to ban Facebook last year.
“It is also evident that with each passing day, the people at the ‘helm’ of our personal freedoms are regressing at a rapid rate and are bent on taking us with them. This move is not only intolerant, it infringes upon our constitutional rights and liberties.
“Not only that, it is illogical - in the technical sense.”
The editorial pointed out that many of these words are used in innocent, everyday conversations and text messages.
“How are we to not use the word ‘murder’ when the need arises and how are we not to use the word ‘athlete’s foot’ in a medical situation,” it asked.
Describing it as an ill thought out move, the editorial said it “must be fought tooth and nail by the cellular companies ladled with the brunt of this ridiculous chore and by the public who are having their rights to free speech trampled upon”.
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Tags: athlete, cell phone carriers, constitutional rights, everyday conversations, freedom of speech, helm, jesus christ, liberties, medical situation, mindset, personal freedoms, pta, rapid rate, sexual orientation, technical sense, telecommunications authority, text messages, traditional sense, urdu, vocabulary