Twitter Reverses Blocking Decision Amid Criticism

18.06.2014 Karachi: Twitter announced, today, that it is restoring access to content it earlier blocked on request of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), ‘in the absence of additional clarifying information from Pakistani authorities’.  The official announcement states that Twitter re-examined the requests and decided that the reasons provided by authorities were insufficient.

It is not about content, but about principle. It is important to recall that the requests which were published on Chilling Effects, a collaborative website that publishes take down requests,  revealed that PTA had cited Pakistan Penal Code as legal justification for requesting the blockade.  In response, Bolo Bhi, along with several other civil society organizations criticized twitter for its decision to comply with Government requests without seeking specific legal justification.

We appreciate Twitter’s decision of reexamining takedown requests and rolling back on their decision. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that twitter has launched its Country With Held Cotent Tool in Pakistan. This is a cause of concern given the lack of  clarity over Twitter’s take down mechanism and Company policy on how it examines such requests. Hopefully, the recent decision should provide the impetus for a more comprehensive policy being formulated by Companies in line with tenants of free-expression.

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Bolo Bhi means ‘Speak up’, we are an organization with focus on advocacy, policy and research. Our focus areas include human rights with focus on gender and minority rights, internet freedom and privacy. We believe it is crucial to bridge the gap between rights advocates, policy makers,  media and average citizens. Bridging the gap enables collective strength and concentrated focus on the areas that require attention. 


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