ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee for Information Technology on Monday stressed upon the need for legislation to lift the ban on video-sharing website – YouTube – in Pakistan.
The recommendation came after a session of the committee, presided by Senator Shahi Syed, discussed the ban imposed on the site in Pakistan since September 2012.
IT Ministry officials told the committee that the website was banned on orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and can only be lifted if the apex court rules so, upon which the committee members agreed relevant legislation was required to get rid of the ban.
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Ministry officials further told the committee that there was no way to remove blasphemous content from YouTube and the only solution was a local version of the website, for which talks were under way with YouTube's parent firm, Google Inc.
The video-sharing website has been blocked in Pakistan since September 2012 over its failure to take down the blasphemous “Innocence of Muslims” movie that sparked furious protests around the world.
The Supreme Court ruled at the time that the site should be banned until a way was found to block all blasphemous content.
In an earlier report published in Dawn last year, Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights also recommended that the government unblock the YouTube in Pakistan.
A resolution, which was passed unanimously, said the ban be overturned as no such provision was in place in any other Muslim country.
Committee chairman Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party, while reading the resolution, pointed out: “There is no ban on YouTube in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”
Members of the human rights committee expressed concern over the long-running ban and maintained that YouTube could still be accessed through proxies and other means.