It has been reported that micro-blogging site Twitter has partially restricted or entirely suspended accounts of prominent Balochistan activists, leaders and organisations. This comes on the heels of the telecom authority in Pakistan threatening to ban Twitter until the Pakistani State’s directives on blocking of objectionable content was not complied with.
While the government authorities provided no details as to what constituted ‘objectionable content’, it transpires that Baloch users active on Twitter might have been one of the irritant. The San Francisco-based microblogging site’s actions have led to an uproar among Baloch twitter users with scores of them being warned and asked to recover their accounts pursuant to the furnishing of additional security information including phone numbers.
The Balochistan Post which reported the story said that that even its Twitter handle has been subject to restrictions requiring multiple recoveries. The action of placing limits on Baloch handles can be viewed in the context of the massive clampdown on independent reporting from Pakistan’s largest and conflict prone province.
In an environment where killings and disappearances of journalists are common, Twitter was being increasingly used by many activists, journalists and rights organisations to report freely on the situation prevailing in the province.
The latest Twitter clampdown while restricting the freedom of expression of Balochis also makes it tougher for the outside world to stay abreast of developments in the conflict-prone region with a record of human rights abuses.
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