Outcry forces Pakistan to hold back on ‘obscene’ text message blocks

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority is reconsidering plans to block “obscene” words from text messages, including many gay-related words.

Following widespread offence and confusion caused by a leaked list of 1600 words the Authority wanted blocked, a spokesman told AFP that it would be carrying out more consultations with various groups.

They hope to produce a trimmed-down list of words to block.

Words on the list included “gay,” “lesbian,” “homosexual,” “fairy”, “condom” and “back door”.

Many common swearwords were included, but other less obviously offensive phrases included “Jesus Christ”, “Athlete’s foot” and “flatulence”.

The PTA had reportedly ordered mobile phone service providers to start blocking out the offensive words by Monday 21 November.

Younis told the Guardian last week: “Nobody would like this happening to their young boy or girl”.

He gave no time frame today for when a ban may be enforced.

Younis told AFP: “At the moment we are not blocking or filtering any word. No final decision has been taken in this regard.”