Pakistan court reimposes ban on YouTube for offensive content

[JURIST] A Pakistani court on Wednesday reimposed a ban on the video sharing network YouTube [official website] after content deemed offensive to Muslims resurfaced on the website when a previous ban was lifted last month. The court also restricted access to Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, Google, Islam Exposed, In The Name Of Allah, Amazon and Bing [official websites]. The court ordered the ban [Reuters report] after evidence of content on the websites regarding the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran was presented at a hearing. Depicting the Prophet Muhammad is considered blasphemous by Muslims, who make up the overwhelming majority of the population in Pakistan. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) [official website] stated that it has not yet received official notice of the ban, but will block the websites once the order is received.

Last month, a Pakistan high court briefly blocked Facebook [JURIST report] in response to a page created by a Facebook user marking "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" [website]. The page encouraged users to submit religiously-prohibited images of the prophet. A few weeks later, the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered the PTA to restore access to Facebook [JURIST report], holding that the government, and not the court, should be responsible for blocking offensive internet content and calling on the PTA to create a centralized system [AFP report] to block blasphemous content. Depicting the Prophet Muhammad is considered blasphemous by Muslims, and has been a source of international controversy since 2005 when a Danish newspaper published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a series of cartoons [JURIST news archive].

 

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