PTA Lifts Ban on YouTube [Updated]

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youtube-logoPakistan Telecommunication Authority going to issue the notification today for opening the access of YouTube to internet users in Pakistan, said Mr. Rehman Malik, Minister Interior, in a tweet just moments ago.

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Update 1 :

Sources tell ProPakistani that Internet Service Providers have been notified by emails about government’s decision regarding the lifting of ban on YouTube.

Sources told ProPakistani that all necessary emails have been circulated and all ISPs have opened the access of YouTube to internet users of Pakistan.

Following is the copy of email that was sent to ISPs:

Dear All,

You are requested to immediately un block/restore complete “YouTube” website provisionally till further orders. Please submit compliance through return email by 1700 hours today.

Regards,

Update 2:

PM Orders to Block YouTube Again

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After a ban on YouTube for exactly three months, Mr. Malik today hinted that all anti-Islamic content on YouTube has been blocked (which we doubt – with details below), for which he apprised PTA and said that internet users in Pakistan should expect a notification from PTA to ISPs – for lifting the ban on YouTube – with-in 24 hours.

It maybe recalled that YouTube was banned in Pakistan on September 27th, 2012 after anti-Islamic videos had gone viral on the video sharing website.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority was said to be in talks with YouTube to block the access of anti-Islamic content available on YouTube in Pakistan, but reportedly YouTube turned down the regulator’s request.

It maybe recalled that YouTube had blocked anti-Islamic videos in various countries including India, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Malaysia, Singapore etc.

Last month Mr. Malik had said that Pakistan is still trying to get anti-Islamic videos blocked in Pakistan and that the ban on YouTube will be lifted only after the blockade of all blasphemous content available on YouTube.

Here is what Mr. Malik tweeted:

YouTube_Pakistan

YouTube_Pakistan_01

National Firewall for Filtering Internet Content

Rehman Malik, in his tweets today, also announced that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is in talks to acquire a powerful firewall software to totally block pornographic and blasphemous content available on internet.

Pakistan has long been trying to implement this national firewall to block blasphemous and indecent content across Pakistan (just like in UAE or Saudi Arabia), but efforts had met with huge criticism and legal hurdles coming from social and civil activist. This is why government had decided to review the policy for filtering content before final implementation.

Government of Pakistan had finally issued policy directive for filtration of internet (after consultation with stakeholders) in September 2012 – and this today’s announcement of national firewall seems to be the result of that directive.

Here is what Rehman Malik said:

YouTube_Pakistan_02

This tweet, on a related note, suggests that PTA will try to block anti-Islamic videos at URL level, the way they were doing before before the ban. This means that chances of availability of anti-Islamic videos on YouTube are still there.

If so, then the purpose of banning YouTube in Pakistan for three months is killed, as PTA will never be able to block all the blasphemous videos while YouTube has already rejected PTA’s request to block blasphemous videos in Pakistan.

It maybe recalled that PTA had publicly said in a court that they can’t block all anti-Islamic videos on YouTube because videos keep on replicating on YouTube – as different users keep uploading them with new identities.

It would be interesting for you to learn that YouTube administration has this ability of blocking the access of a particular video – and all of its copies – in a specific region/country.

Gowth in Local Video Sharing Websites:

In a related news, Tune.PK, a Pakistani video sharing website, saw gigantic growth of 820% in last three months when YouTube wasn’t accessible in Pakistan, showing that local websites has all the potential to receiving, maintain and entertain high traffic.

Check below Alexa stats for Tune.PK for your delight:

tune.pk

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK