LAHORE: The Ministry of Information & Technology and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) are still unable to block controversial content on video sharing website YouTube, and have told Lahore High Court (LHC) that there was no technology so far that would enable them to completely block all controversial sites.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, hearing a petition seeking the restoration of YouTube, remarked that the reopening of the website was linked to the technological ability of the ministry and PTA to block controversial content on the sites.
The court directed director general PTA Waseem Tauqeer to hold a meeting with the petitioner as well as representatives of Ministry of IT and experts in order to assess and explore the state of technological ability available in the country.
Departmental representative will organize the meeting before the next date of the hearing and explore the technology that can enable the ministry and PTA to reopen YouTube after blocking off controversial sites, the order explained.
The court further directed that Waseem Tauqeer will place the minutes of the meeting on record before the next date of the hearing and shall also personally appear before the court to render his assistance.
The court will resume its hearing on July 27.
The court was of the view that in case the ministry of IT or PTA failed to come up with a technological solution on the next date of hearing, the court would then proceed to decide the matter on the constitutional touchstone of fundamental rights and public interest.
Earlier, the ministry informed the court that Google was not interested to join the proceedings.
The court expressed its regret over the attitude of Google and remarked that Google had not informed the court regarding its inability to join the proceedings.
The court had issued notices to Google Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd on its previous hearing on April 26.
The counsel for the petitioner said that there were several technologies available that could help block controversial content and websites from YouTube.
The petitioner sought directions for the Ministry of IT and the PTA to reopen YouTube and only block the controversial content.
YouTube was blocked in Pakistan on September 17 following orders by then Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
The PM had imposed the ban after YouTube refused to heed to the advice of the Pakistan government to remove Innocence of the Muslims from the website, a film that was considered blasphemous.
The petition was filed by NGO Bytes for All.
In the petition on behalf of the NGO, Advocate Yasser Latif Hamdani said that all internet curbs are counterproductive and deprive Pakistanis the right to access of information as well as the right to counter any propaganda against the country or against what they believe in strongly.