Twitter Restores Blocked Accounts, Upholds Free Speech Principles.
Washington DC – June 18th 2014
On June 17, 2014, Twitter announced that it is restoring access in Pakistan to several accounts and tweets it had blocked at the request of Pakistan’s government starting on May 18, 2014. We, at EXMNA, thank Twitter for taking a stand against censorship, and for refusing to use their software to comply with oppressive, theocratic blasphemy laws. Twitter’s actions should strengthen the resolve of other international companies and organizations that find themselves in similar situations. Twitter was forged on the principles of open communication; we are glad to see them once again standing up for freedom of expression, and we hope they exercise due diligence in the future should the company receive demands for compliance with oppressive laws again.
We applaud all the organizations and individuals who took to the internet to support the EXMNA led #TwitterTheocracy campaign and spoke up about this issue. The immense outpouring of support from thousands of sources helped to demonstrate how important freedom of speech on the internet is and will continue to be in the future, for individuals and organizations around the world.
While this is a victory for proponents of free speech, we must remember that Twitter is not the only major social media outlet which had been pressured to support censorship. The Pakistani government has previously used Facebook’s speedy compliance with takedown notices as justification for continuing the ban on Youtube
Twitter deserves recognition for standing behind the ideals of free speech, as the company has done in the past, and for taking steps to ensure transparency. We hope that Twitter’s move to increase people’s access to each other, to broadcast their voices and opinions without fear of censorship, and to stand with those who are resisting oppressive governments, will serve as a model to other social media and traditional media platforms.