YouTube to remain blocked in Pakistan 'indefinitely': officials

Official says no tool or solution has been found which can totally block offensive content


Afp February 07, 2015
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: YouTube will remain blocked in Pakistan 'indefinitely', an official said on Saturday, as experts have failed to find a way to filter content deemed offensive and blasphemous.

The video-sharing website has been blocked in Pakistan since September 2012 over its hosting of the "Innocence of Muslims" movie that sparked furious protests around the world.

The Supreme Court ruled at the time that the site should be banned until a way was found to block all so-called blasphemous content.

"(The) matter was reviewed several times but the situation effectively remains the same," the minister for information technology and telecommunication Anusha Rehman told the Senate on Friday.

"The government does not want to take any chance and wants to make sure that after unblocking YouTube, no offensive content remains viewable in Pakistan," a senior government official told AFP.

"So far no tool or solution has been found which can totally block offensive content, that is why YouTube remains blocked and it will remain so indefinitely," the official said.

Free speech campaigners in Pakistan have long complained of creeping censorship in the name of protecting religion or preventing obscenity, and have described the ban on YouTube as a violation of civil rights.

In November 2011 the telecommunications authority tried to ban nearly 1,700 "obscene" words from text messages, which included innocuous terms such as "lotion", "athlete's foot" and "idiot".

In 2010 Pakistan shut down Facebook for nearly two weeks over its hosting of allegedly blasphemous pages. It continues to restrict thousands of online links.

COMMENTS (23)

Ali Kazmi | 6 years ago | Reply Youtube is banned on 10 different countries, Alltime10s have collected 10 countries that have banned YouTube at one point of time or another, and explain the history behind the bans. The countries listed are: Brazil, Turkey, Germany, Libya, Thailand, Turkmenistan, China, North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan. We should not think that only in Pakistan is blocked, 10 countries are also facing same error.
Haris | 6 years ago | Reply This is just ridiculous.... ban all internet why just youtube !
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