Pakistan to Ban Cheap Phone Tariffs That Encourage Vulgarity
Published on: 22nd Nov 2012
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
By: Ian Mansfield
Pakistan's telecoms regulator has ordered the phone networks to stop offering cheaper phone calls in off peak hours specially at night because it claims they encourage lewd conversations.
The regulator added that the promotions promote "vulgarity" and go against the "values of the country".
"We have received a number of complaints from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Standing Committee of the parliament, and subscribers regarding the promotion of vulgarity through such advertisements and have therefore asked cellular mobile operators to immediately discontinue such packages and to present compliance reports," said PTA Chairman Farooq Awan.
The move has been widely critisised, mainly by the younger people who made the heaviest use of the cheaper tariffs. Concerns have been raised that the regulator is also moving into censoring communications and trying to act as an unauthorised "moral police" of society.
The regulator however argued that it has the authority to act under the terms of a 1996 act, which allows it to "protect consumer rights".
Some argue that it seems difficult to protect consumer rights by denying the consumer what they want.
The regulator has been increasing its tendency to block content in the country, shutting down access to YouTube and seeking to censor text messages containing pre-set phrases.