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It's Still OK To Text 'Offensive' Words In Pakistan

Pakistani families walk past an advertisement for a cellular telephone company in Rawalpindi.
Farooq Naeem
AFP/Getty Images
Pakistani families walk past an advertisement for a cellular telephone company in Rawalpindi.

You can still text the name "Jesus Christ" and the word "naked" if you're a Pakistani with a cellphone.

Also still safe for texting: damn, nude and poop.

Those are among more than 1,600 words and phrases that the Pakistan Telecommunications Agency had reportedly ordered mobile companies in the country to block by today.

But as Voice of America reports, a spokesman for that agency now claims it wasn't a "kill" (one of the 1,600 words) list.

VOA reports that the spokesman, Mohammad Younis, "said via translator that the list should never have been made public, explaining it was meant to be kept between PTA and mobile phone companies as a means to find out whether it was possible to filter obscene messages. He said a final, shorter list of banned words will be released later, after consultation with phone companies."

Many of the words on the list clearly fall under the definition of obscene. PCMag.com is pointing to one compilation that's posted here. Fair warning: if you don't like blue language, don't look.

As for why some words made the list (athletes foot?), we're too clueless to know.

Word about the list led to a #PTABannedList conversation on Twitter.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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