YouTube ‘disrupted’ during Imran’s address

NetBlocks notes the reported disruption came despite IHC lifting the PEMRA’s ban on PTI chief’s speeches


Our Correspondent September 06, 2022
YouTube. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:

YouTube, a popular video streaming website, has been restored after a temporary outage across Pakistan – the disruption occurring during PTI chairman and former premier Imran Khan’s address at a rally in Peshawar.

Users reported not being able to access YouTube when the website shut down countrywide.

According to tweets by the users, YouTube was suddenly stopped in all the major and small cities of the country.

YouTube has neither confirmed nor denied any service shutdown or interruption. NetBlocks, an organisation that tracks internet outages, confirmed the reported outage of YouTube service and noted that the disruption came despite the fact that Islamabad High Court had lifted the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) ban on Imran’s live speeches.

“NetBlocks recommends against the use of network disruptions and social media restrictions to limit political speech, given their disproportionate impact to fundamental rights including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” the organisation said in a statement.

International Human Rights Foundation also took an exception of the event, saying: “The blocking of Youtube, the closure of newspapers and TV channels, the forced dismissal & exile of journalists, the arbitrary arrest of peaceful political opponents, the false indictment of innocent citizens on terrorism charges… deserve only one name: Dictatorship.”

PTI leaders expressed their anger at the PML-N-led coalition government for the development, saying that the ban would not be able to stop the party or its chief.

Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan had now “officially turned into a banana republic”.

Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari in a tweet lashed out at the government over the development. “So YouTube blocked again suddenly by this fascist imported govt and its handlers. Really sick mindsets,” she wrote.

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