Pak ban on YouTube to remain indefinitely

The suspension of video-sharing website YouTube is likely to continue in Pakistan for an indefinite period, officials said on Saturday, as authorities have failed to come up with a solution for filtering objectionable or 'blasphemous' material without blocking the site.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 08, 2015, 00:01 AM IST

Islamabad: The suspension of video-sharing website YouTube is likely to continue in Pakistan for an indefinite period, officials said on Saturday, as authorities have failed to come up with a solution for filtering objectionable or 'blasphemous' material without blocking the site.

Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered government to filter all unwanted content before restoring the website after it was blocked in 2012 following uploading of the controversial film "Innocence of Muslims" that caused an uproar in the conservative Islamic nation.

An official of Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) said that so far no method has been found to selectively stop obscene and anti-Islamic content on the site.

The issue echoed in the senate today where the minister for information technology and telecommunication Anusha Rehman informed the house that the issue of lifting ban on YouTube had been reviewed several times but the "situation effectively remains the same".

The minister also said that the Supreme Court had ordered the PTA to block offending material but there was no solution which could guarantee 100 per cent blockage of objectionable content on YouTube.

Another official of IT ministry said that the Supreme Court order is the main stumbling block, leaving the government with the easy option to continue with the ban on the popular video sharing website.

"The other option is to file a review petition in the Supreme Court to overturn its verdict," said the official.

The fact is that Internet users across Pakistan continue to bypass the official ban and access YouTube through proxy servers while the government conveniently looks the other way.