YouTube launches country-specific homepage for Pakistan

Published: January 12, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

A respite for Pakistanis, Google introduced  on Tuesday the local version of YouTube for Pakistan which will deliver country specific content.

If you’re in Nepal, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, you’ll see a new YouTube homepage that’s customised in your local language and domain, a post on Google Asia Pacific blog read.

Pakistan’s IT sector more robust than before

YouTube is already available in Nepali, Sinhalese and Urdu, and now having country-specific homepages means we can bring you the most relevant videos in a YouTube experience tailored for you, said the post written by Gautam Anand, Director of Operations and Content, YouTube Asia Pacific.

“With these launches, we hope to pave the way for the work of more local creators, personalities and musicians to shine on the world’s largest and most vibrant video community. To all our YouTube viewers and creators from South Asia and around the world, we can’t wait to see what you share,” he added.

YouTube has officially been banned in Pakistan since September 2012 after a low-budget movie containing sacrilegious content sparked furious protests around the world. At the time, the country’s top court ruled the site should be banned until a way is found to block all blasphemous material. Google had removed the blasphemous movie following a US court order but its shorter versions are still available online.

YouTube’s local version will present popular country-specific content on its home page.  While announcing the launch, Google also presented some of their favourite examples of the South Asian content that’s already available on YouTube.

“Pakistanis love YouTube’s diverse music offerings. One of the country’s most popular YouTube channels is Coke Studio, a series of live studio-recorded music performances by artists from across Pakistan. Atif Aslam’s tribute to the magnum opus of the Sabri brothers, Tajdar-e-Haram is one their most-watched videos, clocking over 11 million views to date,” the post read.

National Assembly session: ‘Ban to stay till YouTube localised’

However, it is not yet known whether this localised version will lead to the removal of the government ban on YouTube. IT Minister Anusha Rahman could not be reached for comment.

In March last year, the state minister for information technology (IT) said YouTube will only be accessible in Pakistan after Google allows the country to manage the video-sharing website locally for proper monitoring. Anusha Rehman had said that the legislation to localise YouTube in Pakistan was under way.

Reader Comments (25)

  • Soofiya Malik
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:10PM

    Wow…Google…blinked…first!

    Bravo PTA!Recommend

  • GooglMan
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:35PM

    Dear All,
    we have not launced any localized version, As it is only shift from general to specific doman to have more relevant content available,
    We are dignified and are not going to remove any content on request of Pakistan Govt. We dont care and will not care, Recommend

  • Hilmi
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:40PM

    @Soofiya Malik:
    Nothing of the sort. Google.com.pk has been active for years now. They are just expanding their offerings as always. Unlike Pakistani businesses American tech companies are always looking to grow.Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2016 - 6:48PM

    i don’t think this is going to put any effect on the ban.Recommend

  • Ali S
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:54PM

    Thank God that YouTube has been unlocked for about 3-4 months now – but don’t cheer too much or you might wake up the PTARecommend

  • Aliya
    Jan 12, 2016 - 6:57PM

    Thank You Raheel SharifRecommend

  • curious2
    Jan 12, 2016 - 8:52PM

    @Soofiya Malik:

    Wow…Google…blinked…first!

    I don’t think that is correct. YouTube has just added some regional content and hasn’t changed it’s policies – it’s still remains officially banned in Pakistan. Pakistan has yet to jump through the various legal hoops required by YouTube in order to gain control over local content. You should note that Google market capitalization is about $500 Billion – that’s about 9 times larger than the GDP of Pakistan – it’s unlikely that Pakistan has enough leverage to coerce Google into doing anything.Recommend

  • Aslam
    Jan 12, 2016 - 10:51PM

    What matter youtube ban or open who want to visit youtube so they use the proxy and change ip address so there is no effect whether youtube will open or ban.Recommend

  • Javairia
    Jan 13, 2016 - 4:16AM

    @curious2:
    I agree with your argument but for the record, Pakistan’s GDP in 2014 was $246.88 billion, roughly around half Google’s market capitalization. I understand that statistics about Pakistan’s GDP vary greatly depending on whom you ask, but if it were 9 times smaller, it would be $55.55 billion, and certainly nobody will say it’s that small.Recommend

  • Sammer
    Jan 13, 2016 - 4:18AM

    @Aslam:
    True, except that proxy services install those delicious little cookies into the user’s computer, which then spy on him, tracking his every move. Direct access will at least minimize the scale and scope of this problem if not avoid it altogether.Recommend

  • ali
    Jan 13, 2016 - 6:00AM

    @curious2

    No, you’re wrong. Google’s approximate net worth is $50 billion whereas Pakistan’s GDP (PPP) is $930 billion. Fact check before posting next time please. Recommend

  • Kickass
    Jan 13, 2016 - 8:21AM

    @GooglMan:
    Have the moral courage to give your name. You are nothing but a cheap lowlife making such silly comment.Dignity is a strange word to the likes if you. You have trued to malign Google.Recommend

  • @GooglMan:
    Jan 13, 2016 - 8:24AM

    @GooglMan:
    Seriously something is burning Recommend

  • Jan 13, 2016 - 12:20PM

    Reason why it’s the right time to raise your voice in favor of unblocking YouTube. Recommend

  • Syed M. Adil
    Jan 13, 2016 - 12:40PM

    @Ali S:
    Do you think PTA doesnt know about it? So innocent of you.Recommend

  • TeeAay
    Jan 13, 2016 - 1:17PM

    @GooglMan:
    Sorry. But who are you?Recommend

  • zainulabadin
    Jan 13, 2016 - 3:54PM

    for me my country stands first, if youtube doesn’t respect my country, i am better off without it.Recommend

  • Jan 13, 2016 - 10:02PM

    @zainulabadin: Sometimes, we do not listen to someone because we think differently. It does not mean there is an issue of respect. And my dear in this case dont forget that we are the onew losing out in a big way! There is an immense amount of udeful stuff in YouTube. It is a video library, all the world’s largest libraries of books contain objectionable/hateful stuff as well as useful stuff. When we go there we go for what we want to learn from, and ignore the rest.
    I say the same thing as you – for me my country stands first, if my country can get benefit from something, then I should be able to access it!Recommend

  • Jan 14, 2016 - 2:33AM

    @zainulabadin: But, but if you live in a free country you get to make the choice for yourself. Only if you live in an unfree country do politicians make that choice for you. There is a famous saying, “Error alone needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”Recommend

  • Sara
    Jan 14, 2016 - 7:35AM

    Youtube is over rated. Local rip offs and facebook aleady post similar content anyways pakistanis need to watch. Plus it is aceessible from cell phones anyways to access international stuff so unbaning does not really help that much. Even new chrome browser lets you access youtube without proxy.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 14, 2016 - 1:11PM

    @Sara: Excuse me, then you have not explored YouTube properly. For example, there are Khan Academy’s more than 4,000 videos teaching every subject under the sun – admittedly for those who can understand basic English. The ‘How to’ / ‘How things work’ and training videos are useful for all, because practical video demonstrations minimise the need of understanding the language. If our poor self-learned plumbers, car mechanics, electricians, masons, carpenters, painters, tailors, etc etc, could be taught using these videos, they could give super quality outputs, and be more productive. I could go on and on. Unfortunately, most of our teachers (particularly in small towns) do not know (or at least cannot teach) the modern methods of doing things.
    I am an engineer with decades of experience, but even today, when confronted with something new that I want to understand, I go to YouTube. The TED talk videos are also hugely inspiring.
    I know YouTube is accessible even today, but unless it is the legal way it cannot be accessed by EVERYONE, and also cannot be used in schools and training institutions etc.Recommend

  • Md. Tahir Shah
    Jan 14, 2016 - 10:33PM

    I agree with PTA on this. If Google wishes to operate in Pakistan, it has to respect local laws. You can’t play cowboy as if its Wild Wild West. We don’t need another East India Company.Recommend

  • Jan 17, 2016 - 3:24PM

    First of all it has not been really an easy task to know what is the YouTube URL to the country-specific homepage launched by Google. I have not found a consensus on this issue in the different newspapers of Pakistan as well as the relevant blog post on the Google Asia Pacific blog. To clarify my point, some newspapers say the URL could be youtube.pk while others say it could be youtube.com.pk, while still others maintain it would be youtube.com/pk and not to ignore, there is also voice for another URL youtubePK.com.

    So in this regards, neither has PTA clarified what the URL to the newly launched version of YouTube was, on its website or in its petitions to the Supreme Court? For me, if I could get the answer to this foremost question, I would like to know how would Google co-ordinate with the Pakistani Government for controlling content appearing on its customized domain? Will it open an office in Pakistan and make arrangements for a prior Agreement with the Pakistani Government as to what type of content should be made available on this country-specific domain?

    After this I would also like to know, if YouTube would benefit from the rich Pakistani media content, what would the Pakistanis gain? Would YouTube / Google offer the YouTube Partnership program / content monetization in Pakistani version of YouTube after benefitting itself from the rich Pakistani content and viewership.Recommend

  • Jan 17, 2016 - 11:40PM

    @Naveed Ahmed You would like to know quite a few things, which is absolutely fine, but what I don’t understand is what Google will gain from “rich Pakistani media content”? Actually my concern is more about what WE will gain (please scroll up to see my previous comments in the thread), which I think is going to be immensely useful for us!Recommend

  • Jan 18, 2016 - 10:31PM

    @Parvez
    Please understand the business of YouTube. Google earns money through its content monetization / YouTube Partnership program. The owner of the content who uploads it as well as Google, both share the earnings.

    So it is really a loss for Pakistanis if Google keeps earning from Pakistani content uploaded by Ghost Pakistanis (if content monetization program is not offered through YouTube in Pakistan.Recommend

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