- Pakistan tells phone companies to block 1,500 words from text messages
- Cell phone users respond with derision
- The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority sends mixed messages on its plan
- The banned words list includes terms related to sex and prostitution
Under heavy criticism for a telling cell phone carriers to ban certain words in text messages, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority went into damage control mode Wednesday.
PTA spokesman Mohammed Younis Wednesday denied the existence of the plan, which has met with derision from mobile phone users in the country.
"If at all we finally decide to go for this process, then we will prepare a list in consultation with the mobile operators," Younis told CNN.
In another conversation with CNN two days earlier, however, Younis acknowledged that the telecommunications authority had sent out a notice to carriers -- but said that the agency was giving the operators more time to come up with a shorter list.
Earlier this week, three carriers -- Mobilink, Warid and Telenor -- received the notice, officials there confirmed.
In it, the PTA , which regulates cell phone and internet carriers in Pakistan, called on them to implement the ban within seven days.
This would mean blocking text messages containing the offending words.
Most of the 1,500 banned words were deemed sexually explicit or obscene by the PTA, the officials said.
The words include "taxi" -- often used to refer to prostitutes in Pakistan -- "gay," "tongue," "homosexual," "intercourse," "condom" and "hole."
CNN has obtained a copy of the list.
In the notice, which is available online, the PTA cited a law that bans the transmission of indecent and obscene messages.
The notice says the banned words are part of an effort to cut down on spam and unsolicited text messages, the officials said.
Last month, the PTA banned thousands of websites containing pornography.
But the latest about face on text messages appears to mean the PTA will not act on the notice -- at least, any time soon.