Pakistan lifts ban on YouTube only to impose it once again

December 29, 2012 04:03 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 09:58 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan will unblock the popular video sharing website ‘YouTube’ within 24 hours, the country’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday, after over three months ban. File photo

Pakistan will unblock the popular video sharing website ‘YouTube’ within 24 hours, the country’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday, after over three months ban. File photo

In a curious turn of events, Pakistan lifted the 103-day ban on YouTube on Saturday only to impose it again within a couple of hours as some television channels began reporting that the blasphemous content — which had invited the proscription in the first place — was still available on the video-sharing website.

The day began with hopes of the ban being lifted as Interior Minister Rehman Malik tweeted in the wee hours of Saturday that the notification ending the ban could be “expected today.”

And, sure enough, the ban was lifted early in the day with all Internet Service Providers being asked to “immediately block/restore complete YouTube website provisionally till further orders” and submit compliance through email by 3 p.m.

As word got around and television channels broke the story, some reported that the blasphemous film Innocence of Muslims was still available on YouTube. This saw the government swing into action and order a fresh ban on the website. How long YouTube remained accessible is unclear but from the various versions available, the duration was anywhere between 33 minutes to two hours.

Pakistan banned YouTube on September 17 amid a rising tide of protests against the film.

Persistent demand

Since then there has been a persistent demand for lifting the ban on YouTube which in Pakistan doubles up as a key platform for musicians to launch their new songs as space for expression in any form is shrinking by the day.

Several musicians have had to either move to alternate platforms or delay launch of their song in view of the ban.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.