Could this be the end of the "booty call" in Pakistan? A recent rate change forced on consumers by Pakistan's government-run telephone company has many people up in arms. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) recently told all mobile phone companies to end their low rate deals on late night calls.
What was the reason for the action?
The PTA said it was mandated by the country's ministers who decided that late night phone calls were leading to a decline in morality among young Pakistanis. The claim is that 'youth vulgarity' is being spread via texting and excessive talking on cell phones. A spokesperson for the government phone company told AFP:
"We have issued the directive to all the mobile telephone companies to shelve night call packages. The step was taken after lengthy discussions. These directives are issued in the light of the government decisions and this decision has also been taken by the government."
The mobile phone companies are fighting the change. Many cellular providers have already filed challenges in Pakistan's courts.
Twitter and Facebook are also venues where people are sharing their displeasure with the increase in prices on late night calls. Right after the news broke about the action, Pakistan's first stand-up comedian, Sammy Shah tweeted, "Sexting and dirty talk just got a whole lot more expensive in Pakistan."
This is hardly the first time free speech has been under assault in Pakistan. Since September, the country's government has blocked access to YouTube over the release of the trailer for the anti-Islamic film, Innocence of Muslims. Just last year, TheBlaze reported on the country's banning of more than 1600 words. Words like "idiot," "headlights," and "lotion" were among those considered to be "censorable" and subject to being blocked from text messages.
The BBC's World Service radio covered the story from Pakistan: