No headway: YouTube to remain blocked until filter applied

Published: August 1, 2013

YouTube was blocked in September 2012 by former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashra. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: YouTube cannot be reopened unless a mechanism is adopted to permanently block blasphemous material on the website, the Ministry of Information Technology informed the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday.

A Peshawar High Court division bench comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Malik Manzoor was hearing a petition filed by Mina Muhibbulah Kakakhel challenging the ban on the video-sharing website.

YouTube was blocked in September 2012 by former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf after the trailer of a blasphemous film, titled ‘Innocence of Muslims’, sparked outrage and violence among Muslims across the world.

The ban remained in effect after Google refused Islamabad’s request to take down the video.

Later, Advocate Kakakhel challenged the ban and argued before the PHC that students have been facing immense problems while searching for academic content and requested the court to direct authorities to filter all blasphemous material and reopen the site.

During the case hearing, the bench was informed the ministry has been devising methods to stop such material from being uploaded to YouTube as it “hurts the public’s sentiments resulting in countrywide protests”.

The bench, however, was informed that unless a solution was found, the ministry will not unblock YouTube.

Deputy Attorney General Iqbal Mohmand told the court that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and information technology ministry have submitted written replies, while the interior ministry was yet to respond.

The court then asked the petitioner to file a rejoinder to the PTA and IT ministry’s replies and adjourned the case hearing.

Earlier, the court had maintained that if PTA lacked experts, there was no reason why experts from other countries could not be asked to block blasphemous material before it is made accessible to the general public.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2013.

Reader Comments (18)

  • PakPower
    Aug 1, 2013 - 9:40PM

    Oh come on!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Khan
    Aug 2, 2013 - 11:51AM

    No worries, I have found ways of reaching youtube ! However, it is not much fun as local people no more upload many videos.

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  • Polpot
    Aug 2, 2013 - 11:53AM

    BBC is to blame for the Youtube Ban
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    They made and posted doscumentaries like Scret Pakistan…….
    I suggest you keep away from them.

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  • Khan of Cape Town
    Aug 2, 2013 - 11:55AM

    Dear Judge! But the filter is already there: in the form of Ansar Abbasi !!!

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  • moeed
    Aug 2, 2013 - 11:56AM

    who cares i am still using it anyways
    proxy rocksRecommend

  • Aug 2, 2013 - 11:59AM

    I learned computer repair and servicing with the help of youtube videos. My wife learnt making delicious dishes. My children learned how raw material is converted into finished products. Youtube is very helpful to the students who are doing their professional courses. When such is the case, how a country boasts of democracy can curtail the freedom of information just because it offends some religious fundamentalists who are no way beneficial to the society.

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  • mateen
    Aug 2, 2013 - 12:23PM

    How much social hypocrisy our authorities want to promote. Those in the helm of affairs are well-aware U-Tube can be unblocked easily still are adamant to continue ban and play havoc with the life of poor Net Cafe owners who are hardly meeting their ever since U-Tube was banned. U-Tube was prime attraction for Cafe visitors although stories of promoting waywardness are galore. It is yet to be seen how long Cafe owners will be punished for alleged blasphemous movie they did not produce.

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  • Chunky Lafanga
    Aug 2, 2013 - 12:54PM

    @Polpot: the only people to blame are Pakistanis and the Pakistani government. Our “faith” is so weak and wavering that a stupid video made by an ignorant bigot has caused all this.

    Stop playing the victim.

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  • ezanius
    Aug 2, 2013 - 12:58PM

    Well Well Well… we all know, they are working on filters not to block these videos, but those videos which expose the so called politicians of this country. These traditional lords are unable to control access to information in 21st century and making funny justifications. It is like ASKING YOU TO CLOSE YOUR EYES, IF GETTING HURT FROM SOMETHING OR ENCOUNTERED SOMETHING UNWANTED. HILARIOUS

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  • Khan Gul
    Aug 2, 2013 - 1:01PM

    Dear Ministry, and courts,

    Please keep youtube blocked throughout Pakistan, but UNBLOCK it on educational premises like univesities, colleges, and those users who are using internet services on STUDENT packages like PTCL broadband package for students. This is possible and not difficult.

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  • Oh really?
    Aug 2, 2013 - 1:34PM

    *Outrage in the muslim World and Violence only in PakistanRecommend

  • Deadpool
    Aug 2, 2013 - 3:01PM

    It seems as if the judges have developed a personal dislike for YouTube. It seems completely illogical to me that we should suffer the lose of YouTube on account of some faithless person who made a video. YouTube was one free way for us students to access a huge array of education material, and they have taken even that from us. Not to mention countless other helpful videos. Why is it that the judges and ministers feel as if their faith is being challenged when it comes to YouTube when a line of open cases for those corrupted criminals are not even being looked into. The antics of our government is laughable.

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  • Realist
    Aug 2, 2013 - 3:19PM

    So applying filter magically means content no longer exists? What kind of idiotic reasoning is this?

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  • Jokhio
    Aug 2, 2013 - 3:54PM

    Okay, here’s the thing: You can block the links that bring up the content, but you can’t block the content itself. Once it’s out, you can’t block it. Someone might upload the video from a different channel on youtube, and you can’t possibly monitor all channels.
    Currently, your ban is only a disservice to those who want to use it for entertainment, educational purposes only.

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  • Silas
    Aug 2, 2013 - 5:58PM

    Permanently block youtube? Pakistanis being crybaby whiners in this age of the internet. You can ban nothing on the internet. If you block it, it will appear somewhere else definitely. Stone age people shoud go back to where they belong and whine about their feelings getting hurt.

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  • Ali
    Aug 2, 2013 - 7:04PM

    Yes, our biggest problem is the preservation of Islam and blocking blasphemous content by whatever means reasonable. This is our ministries biggest challenge and will remain so requiring their full attention at all times. No electricity, gas, high prices for petrol, zero education as well as health care will be taken care of right after we are done with the blasphemous content!! Our ministers are a parade of incompetent fools and the people are goats, who have nothing better to do then to applaud such bans.

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  • Shameel
    Aug 2, 2013 - 9:01PM

    God forgive me for saying this, but I think just to prove our point that blocking Youtube is not the answer, start putting up the video on all other websites. Facebook, Vimeo, Dailymotion, even the local Video Hosting websites. We’ll see if they’re able to block these websites as well. which they wont, cuz they cant stop the video. but WE can stop ourselves from watching the contect. Ultimately the choice is OURS.

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  • Pashtunyar
    Aug 3, 2013 - 4:54AM

    I live abroad and have access to youtube (listening to a pashto song as I write) but never had the curiosity to watch a tasteless and provocative rant of a madman(the so called blasphemous video) Fail to understand why people cant be allowed to choose what they want to watch! Its not like youtube is forcing you to watch the video! If it hurts your sensitivities dont search for the blasphemous video!

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