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YouTube unblocked in Pakistan, confirms PTA spokesman

ISLAMABAD, Jan 18 (DNA): Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Spokesman on Monday has announced that the video sharing website YouTube has been unbanned in all parts of the country.The PTA official stated that the authorities along with the assistance of Information Ministry have finalized all the needed arrangements and have unblocked the application for the users in Pakistan.

An official press statement issued here Monday said, on the recommendation of PTA, Government of Pakistan has allowed access to recently launched country version of YouTube for Internet users in Pakistan.

YouTube was previously blocked on the recommendation of the regulator i.e. PTA in order to fully comply with the order of the Honorable Supreme Court concerning blocking of the blasphemous movie “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube and other websites in September 2012 as at that time it was not technically possible to block the offending material on YouTube without blocking the YouTube on IP level.

Recently, Google has launched a country (localized version) of YouTube (YouTube.pk) and confirmed that YouTube.pk does not contain any known copies of the blasphemous movie “Innocence of Muslims”.

Moreover, in case any copy of the offending material appears on YouTube website in future, Google has provided an online web process through which requests for blocking access of the offending material can be made by PTA to Google directly and Google/YouTube will accordingly restrict access to the said offending material for users within Pakistan.

Earlier, on jan.16,2016, PTA had brought the above developments to the notice of the Honorable Supreme Court vide a report filed in continuation of its earlier compliance report filed with supreme court on 17.9.2012. Subsequently, PTA while withdrawing its earlier recommendations sent to Ministry of IT on 17.9.2012, also requested the Ministry of IT to review earlier directions.

“Ministry of IT in view of PTA’s withdrawal of its earlier request of blocking YouTube at IP level and considering the recent developments elaborated by PTA has accordingly allowed access to the country version of YouTube and has also directed PTA to ensure continuous compliance with the Supreme Court under the revised mechanism,” the statement said.

Earlier, PTA representatives approached Supreme Court of Pakistan and filed a petition requesting formal removal of ban on YouTube maintaining the ban in Pakistan is not necessary after the launch of the localised version.

The PTA has submitted that it had put a nationwide ban on YouTube in light of the apex court’s order. It said YouTube has launched a localised version in Pakistan which does not carry content offensive to Muslims.

The petition further claimed that the YouTube administration would remove the blasphemous content on the localised version if ever uploaded again.

The plea said the ban on the world’s largest community powered video site is not necessary after the launch of the localised version.

It is pertinent to mention here that YouTube was banned in 2012 for uploading blasphemous material. DNA






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