Saturday 26 November 2011

PTA Banned List Fiasco

Disclaimer: - This article contains more than 20 words banned by the PTA in their now-defunct list. Continue Reading at our own risk.  

The cat is out of the bag folks. We have finally discovered the source of the recently circulated list of banned words by PTA. Interestingly, the origin of this list (the English one) was traced back to the United States, confirming our long-held beliefs about the orchestration of Pakistani state by Amrika and Jews. The list was actually formulated as the words that could not be chosen by players of American football as names on the back of their shirts.
The Urdu list has been traced back to Indian web sites, confirming our suspicions about RAW infiltrating the government departments. The person responsible for issuing this list was not revealed. This is just another example of the favorite tactic used by Pakistani students i.e. plagiarism.
We recently banned many porn websites too. The list of those websites has not been released as of yet. What’s the harm in releasing that list, after all they are already “blocked”. Perhaps the case of banned words taught the babus at PTA some lesson, but that is highly unlikely. As if we did not have enough bad publicity Internationally, this list has provided the world with another issue to mock us on.
Rachel Maddow wondered how a country facing grave problems as terrorism, load shedding and an existential crisis could focus more on censorship and less on its crises.                                                                                         Washington Post noted,
“Do not forget to strap on your helmet before getting on your motorcycle.” “I got the tickets for Twilight. Hurry up or you’ll miss showtime!” “This teacher is so boring. She’s killing me.”
Next week, these text messages could be banned in Pakistan.Do the above sentences seem innocuous? Harmless perhaps? If a proposed ban passes in Pakistan, none of the above sentences could be sent as text messages.”                                                         Guardian reported,
“Guardians of linguistic purity have long warned against the pernicious impact that text messaging may have on the young, but Pakistan officials have taken such concerns to a new extreme by demanding that mobile phone operators block all text messages using offensive words.”
According to Huffington Post,                               “The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority's ban on 1,600 words deemed "pornographic or offensive to Islam" has flabbergasted much of the international media. Now, many global gay rights advocates are drawing attention to the number of LGBT-related words on the black list.”
According to Time Magazine,                                “The list includes many crude and sexual terms that the government is attempting to root out as part of a 1996 ban on transmitting information through telephone systems that is “indecent or obscene.” Many of the standard curse words you’d expect have come under the hammer. Even misspellings were accounted for. But also banned are rather tame terms like fart and idiot.”
International Business Times said,                          “The next time, while in Pakistan, you find the need to text someone to "deposit" money in your bank account, call a "taxi" or simply write "Jesus Christ", check before you type.”
                                                                                                                                      Blogger Umair Tariq, writing for Express Tribune observed,                                                          “Rather than putting emphasis on character building and progressiveness, the government threw us into confusion that ultimately led us to religious intolerance and extremism. We have given up regard for the privacy of an individual and we have forsaken the golden rule of religious tolerance on which Islam was founded.”
National Newspapers like The Nation, Pakistan Today and Friday Times carried headlines such as “PTA comes up with vulgarictionary”, “Textual harassment” and “Obscene words or minds?”
This effort by PTA can be categorized as a classical symptom of “Ostrich Syndrome”. Nabiha Meher, a teacher, defines Ostrich Syndrome as, “We like to stick our heads in the sand, like kids sticking their fingers in their ears screaming “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” Government should divert its attention to curbing the root cause of this dirty-messaging, as banning particular words would be tantamount to ignoring the cause and blocking the effect. PTA, of all people, should also have known that call and message blocking system is already being provided by many Network providers. If someone texts me something inappropriate or badgers me with incessant calls, I can block his number by subscribing to the Call-block or Message-Block service provided by my Network. Finally,on November 22, PTA backtracked from the list of words it sent to telecom service providers to block text messages as part of a ‘content filtering’ campaign after it met with widespread derision and a threat of legal action. The question still remains the same:- When will they learn?