If Google fails to remove blasphemous and objectionable content from YouTube, it could face a block in Pakistan, warned the nation's new IT minister. The statement came about during a discussion, where Minister of State for IT and telecommunication Anusha Rahman Khan discussed the nation's efforts at ending a 9-month ban on YouTube for hosting clips from the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” movie.
May face block
The massively popular video-viewing service YouTube had been rendered inaccessible in Pakistan in the past on account of hosting objectionable content from the above stated film. In fact, in December last year, the government first unblocked YouTube after a 103-day ban, only to block it again minutes later. Initially all went well. Before actually lifting the ban then, Interior Minister Rehman Malik tweeted that the notification to end the YouTube ban could be expected soon. As planned, the ban was lifted and ISPs were directed to restore access and submit a compliance email.
Almost as soon as access was restored, news channels in the country began reporting that the objectionable video that triggered the block in the first place was still up on the video-sharing website. This saw the government issuing a fresh ban on YouTube.
It was followed by a report stating that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had informed a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology that the government did not intend to unblock YouTube in the immediate future.
The country blocked YouTube in September owing to the anti-Islam movie “Innocence of Muslims”, which incited much ire across the world.
Reports now even state that the search giant rejected requests from the earlier Pakistan People's Party-led government to remove the objectionable content. Khan added that she hoped Google agreed to the new PML-N government.
“It all depends on our negotiation clout. If they persist with their stance, we can block Google in Pakistan as a last resort as there are many alternative search engines available on the web,” Khan was quoted as saying by The News daily.
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