Complex Made Simple

Pakistan lifts YouTube ban, allows localised version

Site was blocked following upload of Innocence of Muslims, a film considered “anti-Islam”

The Pakistani government lifted a three-year ban on Google’s video-sharing website, YouTube, after the technology conglomerate launched a local version that can be monitored by the government.

“The government on Monday allowed access to recently launched country version (localised version) of YouTube for Internet users in Pakistan,” read a statement released by the Associated Press of Pakistan, the country’s official news agency.

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

The ban was applied in September 2012 after the anti-Islam film was uploaded to the site, sparking angry and violent protests across the country.

The new local version of YouTube allows the Pakistani government, represented in this case by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), to demand block or remove content it finds offensive.

However, Google said it would not be immediately blocking content upon request, but will be reviewing the content like it does for other localised YouTube websites in different countries. Moreover, government requests to remove content will be made public by the company.