Atheist Republic received a notice from Twitter on May 14, saying certain blasphemous tweets that it had posted on May 20, 2013 had been blocked in Pakistan after the country’s Telecommunication Authority sent a legal notice to the microblogging website. Atheist Republic had posted images on its Twitter and Facebook pages to commemorate “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day,” an event organized each year on May 20, in support of free speech and freedom of artistic expression of those threatened with violence for drawing representations of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad.
The email sent by Twitter to Atheist Republic reads as follows:
“In accordance with applicable law and our policies, Twitter, Inc. is withholding the following Tweet(s) in Pakistan:
For more information about withheld content, please review our Country Withheld Content policy page.
We have also sent a copy of the request to Chilling Effects. It will soon be available at the following location.
We cannot provide legal advice. You may wish to contact your own attorney about this matter.
Twitter Trust and Safety.”
Everybody Draw Mohammad Day started as a protest against the censorship of American television show South Park by its distributor Comedy Central, after animators Trey Parker and Matt Stone who were responsible for depicting Mohammad in two episodes, received death threats from unknown sources in April 2010. Apparently, certain hadiths forbid the depiction of Prophet Mohammad even though the Quran does not.
— Atheist Republic (@AtheistRepublic) May 21, 2013
Commemoration of Everybody Draw Mohammad Day began with an artwork being posted on the internet by American cartoonist Molly Norris on April 20 that year. The artwork was accompanied by text that urged “everybody” to create a version of Mohammad, as a sign of protest against efforts to limit freedom of expression. According to Norris, if everybody drew a representation of Mohammad, Islamic radicals would not be able to murder them all and thus their threats would naturally become unrealistic.
— Atheist Republic (@AtheistRepublic) May 20, 2013
The notice sent by Twitter to Atheist Republic on May 14 reads as follows:
While those in India and Pakistan may not have direct access to certain tweets, they can still use the TOR network to get their way around such censorship.TOR is a network of virtual tunnels that allows users to exchange information over public networks without compromising their privacy.