The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has taken a bold new step in the censorship arena, compiling a list of words and phrases deemed "inappropriate" for texting
. This list has been forwarded to the nation's mobile operators, making a brief appearance as a publicly-available Google doc. Although the public permission has been rescinded, a version of the list appears here
(very probably NSFW, especially if someone is reading over your shoulder or if you tend to read everything aloud).
According to a mobile operator representative:
"There are more than 1,600 words in the list including indecent language, expletives, swear words, slang etc, which have to be filtered. The filtering is not good for the system and may degrade the quality of network services-plus it would be a great inconvenience to our subscribers if their SMS was not delivered due to the wrong choice of words"
To give you the gist of the forbidden texts, imagine George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV
," attach nearly any other imaginable word to those seven, add a couple hundred euphemisms for masturbation, some drug slang and a slew of misspellings and you'll be in the general neighborhood. It's what's lying on the outskirts of this neighborhood where things get weird.
Athletes Foot. Defecate. Deposit. (Yes, I know, but I would imagine some Pakistanis still use a banking system.) Do Me is thwarted by removing a space, leaving Pakistanis with no word for "enclosed arena." G Unit. God Damed Motha Fucka. I'm saddened to see "sexwhore" is no longer permissible, as it has become my go-to texting phrase, especially when contacting immediate family members.
Famous STD gonorrhea narrowly avoids the ban, thanks to an apparent lack of reference material ("gonorrehea"). Of course, infection tends to lead to a burning sensation that also makes the "no-go" list: "smagma."
Got Jesus. (It's cool, though. "Satan" is banned as well.) Hobo. Hoser. Idiot and "idoit." Juggalo. Kmart. Kotex. Lotion.
Inveterate masturbators will be thrilled to learn that many variations have been banned (mastabater, masterbate, mastrabator) but the original, correctly spelled version lives on. Sadly, inveterate jokesters will have to make do without their precious, um, "pun tang."
Neon Deon. Rae Carruth. (Apparently, the Pakistani government has something against flashy/homicidal football players, not to mention the defunct XFL ("he hate me/hehateme")).
"Tongue" gets twisted as well, appearing on the list as "tonge," "toung" and "tounge." #1072-1074 are apparently intentionally left blank.
All in all, a very dirty and plentiful list. One can almost imagine the censoring group giggling childishly long into the night while coming (I KNOW) up with this list.
Many Pakistanis have taken to the internet to express their displeasure with having their constitutional free speech rights violated. Of course, officials are quick to point out that this censorship is "for the children."
Mohammad Younis, a PTA spokesman claims the ban was a "result of numerous meetings and consultations with stakeholders," and went on to point out that "nobody would like this happening to their young boy or girl."
(Oddly enough, "Wuutang Clan" is forbidden, despite the fact that they are sporting an additional "u" and are distinctly "for the children
The spokesman also points out that they never thought they'd get caught:
Mr. Younis also added that the list was never intended to be distributed publicly and was only intended to be used for testing purposes.
Supposedly the final version will be much shorter, leaving Pakistani texters only "partially censored" which is better than "completely censored" but still much, much worse than enjoying their right to free speech. Citing Pakistani court precedent, the Pakistani government representative helpfully pointed out that, like many "unlimited" data plans, constitutionally-protected free speech isn't "without restrictions."
All in all, this move sounds like a nanny-state circle****, presided over by officious ***hats with too much free time and way too much power.