January 21, 2016

YouTube Back in Pakistan: Ban Lifted After 3 Years

YouTube was blocked in Pakistan three years back. The release of anti Islam movie named “Innocence of Muslims,” on YouTube in 2012, created offense in many parts of the world including Pakistan. This offense let triggered the ban after violent protests against it in many countries, including Pakistan.

At that time there was no authority for Pakistani officials to remove or block the page that have offensive content. Pakistan joined hands in this matter with Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sudan. This union put YouTube on complete ban.

Ban was even remove on December 2012, but was enforced again immediately within five minutes. This was because a journalist on TV verified that that offensive video was not removed and was still available on YouTube.

However the relaxation to YouTube is much more serious. Kamran Ali the leader of YouTube ban review committee told that, Government is taking serious steps this time. And will seek the experts help. And Ban will be removed as soon as a solution to that offensive video is sought out.


New version of YouTube for Pakistan

Recently the court ordered to release the ban from YouTube. Pakistan telecom authorities (PTA) uplifted the ban from YouTube. The video sharing site that is owned by Google launched a complete new version of YouTube for Pakistan. For uplifting the ban from the site in Pakistan Google has provided certain liabilities and some authorities to Pakistani Government. This new version has given more power to Government to control the uploaded content. Government of Pakistan with this new version has now the complete authority to remove the content that will be offensive. This new version will be under continuous observance and monitoring of Pakistani Government. Government is also provided with the facility to notify YouTube for the removal of offensive content.

According a YouTube representative, “certain rules have been set for community. Also if YouTube will be notified that certain content is offensive or illegitimate for country it will not be allow to have access in that country anymore.”

Also a YouTube spokeswoman told CNN, “There are clear guidelines in case of violation videos will be removed.”

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom told that, “An online process has been provided by Google. Using this system Pakistan telecommunication authority can make requests to Google for blocking some offensive content. Google will take actions correspondingly and will remove that content to prevent access to that content.”

According to Wall Street Journal report not the full fledge access to YouTube will be allowed by Pakistani government for the country. Rather they will use a blocking technology. The content that will not be considered appropriate and more particularly offensive will be removed out rather than blocking the complete website.


ISP’s unblock YouTube as per PTA’ order

A notification has also been issue and also a PTA official disclosed to The Express Tribune that ISP’s have been given orders to remove the ban and provide access to country version of the site.

The official further told that, “A mutual agreement has been made between Pakistani Government and Google. Any sort of intolerable stuff will not be allowed in Pakistan as soon as local authority reports about it.” The official also told that, “An online process has been made available to Pakistani authorities to put request to Google for blocking any sort of offensive content.”

The government also received the similar types of orders demanding to release the ban over YouTube.


Re-embodiment of YouTube has been accepted, but restoration is imminent

Pakistan demanded from Google to launch a localized version of YouTube for Pakistan users. Many attempts were made to resolve this issue, but conflict remained between the two. This disagreement resulted in three years of complete ban for YouTube in Pakistan.

After this long time span, internet giant finally announced and launched a localized version of YouTube for viewers in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.


Public reaction on unblocking YouTube

This move of internet giant has been appreciated well by users and public. Especially on social media #unblocked trending is nowadays heavily in use. Also after the launch of localized version of YouTube the traffic to site has increased tremendously in Pakistan.


Article: Sidra Aleem | Image: Bloomberg
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