ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) raised the issue of suspension of tweets and blocking of Twitter accounts apparently related to India-held Kashmir with the Twitter administration on Wednesday.
The telecom sector regulator has also asked the users of the microblogging site to register their concerns about the suspension of their tweets or blocking of their accounts at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The PTA has said a total of 333 handles have been suspended for posting tweets regarding the situation in held Kashmir.
The PTA raised its concerns with the Twitter administration about the biased approach towards Pakistani Twitter users in strong words, according to the statement issued by the regulator, and has also requested Pakistani social media users to report any Twitter account suspended on the pretext of posting pro-Kashmir content to the PTA.
The PTA has already received 333 such complaints which were sent then to Twitter to be restored, however, only 67 accounts have been restored by Twitter so far.
A total of 333 Twitter handles suspended
The PTA said Twitter has not responded officially nor given any reason for the suspension of these accounts.
The PTA said it is already making efforts to engage with Twitter to ensure freedom of expression for social media users in Pakistan. It said it has invited Twitter’s administration for a meeting in Pakistan or anywhere they prefer in order to have meaningful discussions and devise a workable arrangement. But Twitter is yet to respond, PTA said.
Earlier, Dawn reported in August about 200 Twitter accounts which had been suspended for apparently posting about Kashmir. The claim came from journalists, activists, government officials and fans of the military tweeting in support of Kashmir freedom.
Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had earlier said the authorities had taken up with Twitter and Facebook regarding the suspension of Pakistani social media accounts posting content in support of Kashmir.
Under The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, PTA is the sole body that can officially block access to unlawful online content on the internet and take it up with relevant platforms in cases where the PTA is unable to block them because of technical grounds.
The PTA also said it will keep taking up the matter with Twitter and urge them to discontinue their alleged biased approach towards Pakistani users who are advocating rights of the oppressed people of India-held Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2019