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Pakistan Lifts Three Year-Old Ban On YouTube After Google Releases A New, Local version

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The three year ban on YouTube instigated by Pakistan has been finally revoked following Google’s decision to launch a ‘new version’ of YouTube in the country. This new version will allow the Government to remove content that it deems offensive to the sentiments of the muslim majority country.

The Google owned video sharing website was banned in September, 2012 by the Pakistan government owning to wide spread protests and opposition revolving around the release of an anti-Islamic film on YouTube. The film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’ was met with sever back lash that turned violent across different cities in Pakistan.

The protests were not solely limited to the country, but also spread to other Islamic nations. Even in the west, protestors took to the streets protesting against the film, terming its content in violation of Islamic views. As a matter of fact, these protests grew to such an extent that the US ambassador to Libya lost his life and several people died during various incidents in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen and Sudan.

In a response to these violent protests, Pakistan had initiated a ban on YouTube. Three years later, Google, owing to reclaim its lost market, has launched a new version that gives the Pakistani Government, the authority to remove content that it considers unfit for the country.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom has stated that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority can ask for access to offending material to be blocked.

On the recommendation of PTA, Government of Pakistan has allowed access to recently launched country version of YouTube for Internet users in Pakistan.

the ministry said.

Google has provided an online web process through which requests for blocking access of the offending material can be made by PTA to Google directly and Google/YouTube will accordingly restrict access to the said offending material for users within Pakistan.

The nation has witnessed several websites that go against its views being blocked. In the past, the country has held a firm opposition to content that has undertones of blasphemy. Hundreds have lost their lives during varies protests against anti-Islamic content in the state. Pakistan even has a law that deems blasphemy a crime and carries a maximum sentence of death penalty — though it hasn’t been awarded till date.

Google on the other hand has had to mend its ways to exist in countries that have put a firm wall against the company’s operations. From being banned in China, to facing blocked access to YouTube in Turkey, the search engine giant has faced similar censorship issues in the past.


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