Pakistan lifts YouTube ban over ‘blasphemous’ content

Pakistan lifts YouTube ban over ‘blasphemous’ content

[JURIST] The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) [official website] on Tuesday ordered some 70 Internet service providers to restore access to video-sharing website YouTube [corporate website], lifting an order [JURIST report] issued last week blocking access over "blasphemous" posted on the site. The PTA issued a statement [text] Monday explaining the order, saying it was in response to a movie trailer posted by Dutch politician Geert Wilders for his film "Forbidden," which depicts Islam in a highly negative light:

You Tube, a video sharing website has been found to be running highly provocative and blasphemous anti Quranic video with reference to the Dutch politician Mr. Geert Wilders.

PTA believes that the said footage absolutely stands against the values of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence arousing deep anguish and distress across the Muslim world. Had not this highly profane and sacrilegious footage been banned, it has the potential to cause more unrest and possible loss of life and property across the country.

In view of the above, PTA as the sector's Regulator has directed country's ISPs to block the said website showing offensive visual footages. PTA will ensure blocking of the website keeping under consideration all the best practices and means so as to achieve the desired objectives without affecting the ones that are not concerned with the objectionable contents.

A PTA spokesperson told BBC News that ISPs have been instructed to restore access to the site, but a reason for the PTA's reversal is not yet available.

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. BBC News has more.

12:01 PM ET – PTA spokesperson Nabiha Mahmood said Tuesday that YouTube access was restored after the offending video was removed from the site. AP has more.