Twitter Warns Global Users Their Tweets Violate Pakistani Law

From Channel News Asia:
WASHINGTON: When Canadian columnist Anthony Furey received an email said to be from Twitter’s legal team telling him he may have broken a slew of Pakistani laws, his first instinct was to dismiss it as spam.

But after Googling the relevant sections of Pakistan’s penal code, the Toronto Sun op-ed editor was startled to learn he stood accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad – a crime punishable by death in the Islamic republic – and Twitter later confirmed the correspondence was genuine.

His perceived offense was to post cartoons of the prophet several years ago.

Furey and two prominent critics of extremism in Islam say they are “shocked” to have received notices by the social media giant this past week over alleged violations of Islamabad’s laws, despite having no apparent connection to the South Asian country.

They say the notices amount to an effort to stifle their voices – a charge Twitter denies, arguing the notices came about as a result of “valid requests from an authorized entity,” understood to mean Pakistan, helped users “to take measures to protect their interests,” and the process is not unique to any one country.

But Furey is the third prominent user in the space of days to publicly complain about receiving a message linked to Pakistan.

The other two are Saudi-Canadian activist Ensaf Haidar and Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, a progressive Muslim scholar from Australia who was born in Iran.

Both are outspoken critics of religious extremism and have accused the social media giant of helping to silence progressive ideas within Islam.

‘VALIDATES BLASPHEMY LAWS’

Furey, who detailed his experience in a column for his newspaper on Saturday (Dec 8), told AFP: “I’m somewhat alarmed that Twitter would even allow a country to make a complaint like this, as it almost validates their absurd blasphemy laws.”

The tweet in question was a collage of cartoons of Mohammad that he posted four years ago.

“Looking back, I remember I did it right after there had been an ISIS-inspired attack in retaliation over the cartoons,” Furey wrote in his column, adding he had not posted similar material before or since….

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