ALMOST two months after the government blocked YouTube, the video-sharing site remains inaccessible to Pakistanis. Google and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority have failed to reach an agreement over blocking links to The Innocence of Muslims, despite the fact that such arrangements have been made with other governments, and as a result the PTA has stuck to its convenient solution of putting in place a wholesale ban on the website. In some countries Google is more willing to comply because it has large, localised operations and banning certain videos in those countries would not block the same videos elsewhere. But if the Internet giant is not going to budge on the issue, surely the Pakistani government should be trying to find a way to block specific videos, even if that requires buying more staff or new technology.

The fundamental question is this: after the massive strides Pakistan has made towards freedom of expression, will it continue to take a step back every time someone irresponsible in some part of the world posts something offensive on the Internet? Pakistanis now have the ability to generate and consume a profusion of content through traditional media outlets, social media, and websites and blogs, giving them more space to express themselves than ever before. That has been one of Pakistan’s defining achievements over the last decade. And yet in its populist or moralistic zeal, or simply for security reasons, the government continues to take clumsy, arbitrary actions that block large chunks of the Internet when banning specific material becomes inconvenient or challenging. In today’s globalised world, there will always be something online to take offence at. The PTA needs to find a way to target its efforts so that it can stop depriving Pakistanis of a fundamental right they are becoming increasingly accustomed to.

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Comments (21)

Iqbal
November 7, 2012 4:08 am
Blocking and unblocking of websites is a petty issue.... Real issue is biased and flawed laws for freedom of speech... your freedom ends where my nose starts.... if laws make people responsible, every one will be happy... until then, these episodes will continue...
Danish Khan
November 7, 2012 3:46 am
the question is why google and youtube so hell bend on keeping that video in first place, and more over when they have banned access to it in so many countries then why not Pakistan. Seems like they hold that video more dear to them then the sentiments of millions of Pakistani.
Ali
November 7, 2012 6:16 am
I agree with you kindly bring back youtube. Only the media can bring back youtube
Amir Bangash
November 7, 2012 5:23 pm
Blocking You Tube is not a matter of freedom of speech but hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslims and also a source of vulgarity.
Sam
November 7, 2012 4:51 am
PAKISTANIS CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT AMERICAN PRODUCTS YOUTUBE,GOOGLE etc. BUT THEY ALL HATE AMERICA!
sdf
November 7, 2012 12:19 pm
I AM A PAKISTANI AND I HAVE NO STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT AMERICA. MEH!!!!!!!!! BUT THEIR SITCOMS ARE FUNNY.
Vgp
November 7, 2012 10:59 am
They wont block it as they believe in freedom of speech and expression. Simple fact is if u dont want to watch it dont do it nobody is forcing you, not that I support this film
Facts101
November 7, 2012 10:26 pm
Google and Youtube have removed over 1700videos that were objected to by Israel and Jews.
Cyrus Howell
November 7, 2012 10:11 pm
Muslims will never replace all voices with one voice. It is contrary to human nature and human wisdom.
Cyrus Howell
November 7, 2012 10:07 pm
Because the most of the rest of the world is not blocking it. Pakistan is just along for the ride. It can't tell Google what to do.
Cyrus Howell
November 7, 2012 10:05 pm
We know when that will be.
Cyrus Howell
November 7, 2012 9:55 pm
It is difficult to reach a compromise anytime religious views are involved. Religion holds all the aces here.
Jav
November 7, 2012 4:19 pm
Fantastic article. Why is it always Pakistan's "Islam" more superior to all the other Muslim countries? Why is it they can find amicable solution but Pakistan is unable to?
Amir Bangash
November 7, 2012 3:26 pm
The blockade of You Tube has no negative impact on the Pakistani society. The vulgar videos shown on the You Tube have been spoiling our youth because vulgarity is not good for any society what to talk of Pakistan (an Islamic country). I would request the government to block every web site that is vulgar because it will ruin Pakistan.
Jav
November 7, 2012 3:25 pm
Pakistani's don't hate America, they hate their hypocritical foreign policy!
Osama
November 7, 2012 3:14 pm
the ban has not served any purpose of banning it. Youtube should be restored now.
peace lover
November 7, 2012 10:54 am
i support the views expressed in above article concerning the closure of you tube. pPakistani government must make efforts to block nast film and resume you tube to ensure freedom of expression and know to all.
Vgp
November 7, 2012 10:57 am
Sorry to inform you but this film on You Tube is not blocked in India
Haroon
November 7, 2012 10:11 am
The story of YouTube and Pakistan goes back to when Pakistan shut down YouTube (saying it was an "accident") in 2008. The question is whether Pakistan allows access back to YouTube, but what Pakistanis should ask themselves is why this ignorant film was blocked in many countries (like India), but not in Pakistan? It seems to me that Google has actually no interest at all bringing YouTube back to Pakistan.
butseriouslyok
November 7, 2012 10:34 am
You dont like the video then dont watch it. There is so much nonsense on the net that can offend people.
Abid
November 7, 2012 7:25 am
i like youtube but when remove anti islam film
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