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Pakistan blocks YouTube over 'blasphemous' content

[JURIST] The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) [official website] has ordered the country's 70 Internet service providers to block access to popular video-sharing website YouTube [corporate website] because of "blasphemous content, videos and documents" posted on the site, a government official confirmed Sunday. The order, issued by the director of the PTA on Friday, claimed the ratio of "non-Islamic objectionable video[s]" has increased on the website and instructed providers to block the site until further notice. Local media has cited different reasons for the government ban, ranging from controversial depictions of the Prophet Mohammed to promotional materials for an upcoming film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders. A PTA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told AP on Sunday that the ban was a direct response to a movie trailer [video] posted on the website for Wilders' film, "Forbidden," which depicts Islam in a highly negative light.

In January, a Turkish court imposed a week-long ban on the site [JURIST report], citing video clips allegedly insulting the country's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The Thai government imposed a similar ban [JURIST report] in April 2007, citing material deemed offensive to the country's monarchy. AP has more. PTI has additional coverage.

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