Stories about PTA

Sign this petition to save Pakistan from ‘vulgarity’?

As I was about to enter the Blue Dome Mosque in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad, for Jumma prayer, I was stopped by three pious-looking individuals, wearing white turbans and shalwar kameez. They thrust a paper at me and declared that it was my duty as a Muslim to sign the petition. Blue Dome Mosque in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad. Photo: Affan Javed When I asked them what the petition was about, they verbally explained that it was a request to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to ban behaya (lewd) content, all across the country. When I questioned them further, they seemed to get irritated and ...

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India should lift the ban on Pakistani channels before attacking Pakistan for banning Indian content

I am not a TV buff, and only switch on the idiot box to watch news channels and occasionally cricket matches, even though there are as many as 906 channels available on my cable connection. But at the same time there are millions of Indians like my mother who spend most of their spare time switching from one channel to another, watching daily soap operas – Ekta Kapoor’s Saas-Bahu type serials being the most watched.  906 channels, that’s quite a number, isn’t it? Now I would like you to guess the number of Pakistani channels in them – 20, 15, 10, 5, anyone? The correct ...

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IMDb ban: Internet Movie DataBase or Internet and Media Data Ban?

Pakistan has been suffering at the hands of perception and media-related matters being blown out of proportion, falling victim to the same. First it was Facebook, because of a pastor and his anti-Islamic intentions. When that phased over, it was followed up by the Benghazi attack and the movie that was the cause of a tragic diplomatic mission episode, unwarranted frustrations being vented in the form of riots, stone pelting and much worse across Pakistan and eventually a ban on YouTube that has lasted over 400 days. While the above two bans had the undercurrent of both inciting religious violence, users ...

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‘Don’t hate us, know us’, but PTA disagrees: Pakistan’s first gay website banned

If you’re happy and they know it, then you’re probably not clapping anymore. However, as your claps fade, you may hear the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority’s (PTA) celebrations begin. They stole the legendary pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and that’s reason enough to pat each other on the back – of course in a strictly heterosexual manner. Allegedly the gold they found is labelled ‘silence’ and they are guarding this treasure with their lives by refusing to waste golden words on ‘non-issues’ like the Pakistani gay community. However, we’re not Iran and moderate enlightenment blessed us with a split personality disorder; one side-effect of ...

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Increasing call rates to Pakistan is plain cruelty

The recent increase in the calling rates for incoming calls to Pakistan has come as a rude shock to many overseas Pakistanis for several reasons. Firstly because there was no prior announcement of this revision in rates and secondly because the rate of increase which ranges between 300% to 800% is beyond anybody’s comprehension. It is being reported that this big increase is a result of the PTA’s decision to implement the International Clearing House (ICH) and is claimed to reduce illegal calls to Pakistan. This government has now become notorious for its illogical and poorly advised decisions but this increase in ...

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Banning YouTube: Why doesn’t the PTA need to justify its actions?

The advent of the internet has been one of the feats of modern civilisation, and its ubiquity, a defining feature of the 21st century. The war on terror, the European debt crisis, and our current prime minister may in time become footnotes in history, but the internet can only become more central to the fabric of human society. It has already sparked globalisation’s second great unbundling – cheap communications allowing firms to become truly multinational. Today, it is not just producers and consumers who can be geographically distant; production itself has fragmented across transnational supply chains, so that businesses can put ...

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Dolly bigmouth: Thumbs down for vulgartainment

Last year,  Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), following the directions given by our government, blocked over 1,600 words on SMS that were unethical or against the wider interest of our nation. Later, PTA blocked Twitter over blasphemous tweets for one day. PTA took such admirable action when it came to national interest, or shall we say our beloved government’s interest. Having said as much, I believe that the quality of programs aired on TV channels nowadays is far more poisonous than these banned words. For the last couple of days whenever I switch my television on, I find myself looking at either ...

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PTA – a correction

Last week, Pakistanis suffered some three minutes of unmitigated shock and awe. It occurred after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced that it would not allow the mobile operators to carry text messages containing swear words. After registering some initial outrage, however, the nation broke into uncontrollable euphoria. It had to do with the list of swear words that the PTA issued to go with their directive. The list, in case you haven’t seen it yet, is spread over two documents (Urdu, English) and it has been researched, compiled and prepared by the PTA — May God bless them. Going through ...

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Warning! The PTA might not approve of this bakwas

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has decided to ban the word ‘bakwaas’ (nonsense). Let me say this right here – that is such bakwaas. It has also banned the word Jesus Christ. There go Merry Christmas messages to Christian friends. There goes, now that I think about it, this particular conversation I found in my phone: “Hey I heard you were ill – did you really faint in Chemistry class today?” “Jesus, how fast does news spread around school anyway? I am feeling much better.” To be honest though, I am not that fussed. Stranger, inexplicable things have happened. Facebook, for instance was banned ...

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PTA bans, and words we cannot say

Dearly beloved and graciously naïve, The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has allegedly compiled a list of words that the directors have deemed obscene and want to ban for text messages. As laughable as this may seem, this list, if real, is a clear example of the extremist mentality that some of the office-bearers in Pakistan have. Sifting through these banned words, I discovered that even the word “Jesus Christ” might be forbidden, along with many other words of everyday usage. Why on earth has Jesus’s name been banned? Is it some kind of an abusive word? As much as rightists and McBurqas may like it, ...

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