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PM orders immediate shutdown of Youtube services

Published Sep 17, 2012 06:43pm

"Access denied" error message is displayed upon logging on to Youtube in Pakistan.
"Access denied" error message is displayed upon logging on to Youtube in Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minsiter Raja Pervez Ashraf has ordered immediate shutdown of video-sharing website Youtube in the aftermath of protests against anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims,” which is still available on the website, DawnNews reported on Monday.

In a directive issued to the Ministry of Information Technology, the PM stated that the decision was taken after Youtube decided against removing the film and the shutdown will remain effective until the website removes all content from the sacrilegious film.

In a statement released last week, Youtube said it would not remove the film as it does not violate its terms of use, despite pressure from the White House to review its decision.

At the filing of this report (2045PST) the website still remained accessible in Pakistan.

Protests against the film have broken out all across the Muslim world and have spread over Pakistan in the last few days, with one person being killed in violent protests on Monday.

While Youtube has not removed the controversial clip, it has blocked access to it in countries where violent protests have remained unabated. These include Libya, Egypt and most recently, India and Indonesia.

YouTube cited “very sensitive situations” in those two countries.

In its Friday statement, YouTube said that outside of Libya, Egypt, India and Indonesia, the video will remain on its website.

“We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions,” the YouTube statement said.

“This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video - which is widely available on the web - is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, we’ve restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries. This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007.”

Interior Minister Rehman Malik later on, while speaking at a press conference, said that a letter will written to the OIC chairman regarding the matter as well as the Secretary Interpol.