Twitter Blocked By Pakistan For 'Blasphemous' Content

Twitter was blocked by Pakistan for several hours on Sunday after the microblogging service refused to remove "blasphemous" content, said one of the country's telecommunications officials.

Apparently tweets considered offensive to Islam were posted on the site, relating to a competition on Facebook whereby users were asked to post images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad - however, many Muslims believe any depiction of the prophet to be blasphemous.

"This has been done under the directions of the Ministry of Information Technology. It's because of blasphemous content," explained Mohammed Yaseen, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

"We have been negotiating with them until last night, but they did not agree to remove the stuff, so we had to block it," he added.

The government eventually restored access to Twitter after eight hours of blocking the service - believed to be due to public outcry over the censorship:

Ed Husain ‏@Ed_Husain "Twitter banned in #Pakistan ('blasphemy' allegations). A sure recipe for more people to join Twitter. Bans don't stop 'blasphemy'."

Atif S Ahmad ‏@atifahmads-"The terrorist #Mullah Cult can roam and operate freely in #Pakistan while social media is banned and targeted!."

JK ‏@KnightWilliams- "Twitter banned across #Pakistan. Here I am accessing it from Islamabad. Take that, you forces of medieval ages!"@Rav1no."

Source: Yahoo!