YouTube ban lifted in Pakistan
Islamabad: Pakistani authorities have
lifted a ban on video-sharing website YouTube though Internet
links with objectionable material such as blasphemous
caricatures will continue to be blocked, officials said today.
The Information and Technology Ministry lifted the ban
on YouTube, which was blocked six days ago after the Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority began cracking down on
"blasphemous" and sacrilegious content.
Pakistani Internet service providers restored access
to YouTube late this evening.
Officials said videos deemed offensive to Muslims that
are posted on YouTube will continue to be blocked.
Acting on an order of the Lahore High Court, PTA
initially blocked social networking website Facebook for
hosting a page that promoted a contest to draw blasphemous
caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.
Internet service providers have so far blocked about
800 URLs that link to "sacrilegious" content.
Since last week, religious and hardline groups have
organised protests across the country against the caricatures.
YouTube was briefly banned in Pakistan in 2008 for
carrying material deemed offensive to Muslims.
Facebook continues to be banned and the Lahore High
Court`s order on the social networking website is applicable
till May 31.
In a message posted on Twitter today, Interior
Minister Rehman Malik said a meeting of the federal cabinet
had condemned "blasphemous material" on websites.
He said the cabinet had also accepted his proposal to
block only objectionable "sections of Facebook and YouTube".
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