Anuradha ShettyJul 05, 2013 13:53:22 IST
It may be a while before access to YouTube is fully restored in Pakistan. As per latest news, a court in Pakistan has declined to pass an interim order that would have effectively restored access to the popular video-viewing service in the country.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of the Lahore High Court was hearing a petition by an NGO called Bytes for All to lift the ban. Shah had previously sought suggestions from experts belonging to Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology on “removing blasphemous and undesirable material" from YouTube and other websites.
Ban to stay?
YouTube is currently inaccessible in the country and has remained so for sometime now. The service had been banned for hosting clips from the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" movie. Following the outrage that ensued, the service was promptly blocked.
Last month, Pakistan’s new IT minister Anusha Rahman Khan threatened Google saying that if it failed to remove blasphemous and objectionable content from YouTube, it could face a block. Her statement came about during a discussion about the nation's efforts at ending a 9-month ban on YouTube.
Reports had even stated that the search giant rejected requests from the earlier Pakistan People's Party-led government to remove the objectionable content. Khan added that she hoped Google agreed to the new PML-N government.
It first seemed that things were returning to normalcy in December last year. At the time, the government first unblocked YouTube and minutes later, blocked it again. Before actually lifting the ban, Interior Minister Rehman Malik tweeted that the notification to end the YouTube ban could be expected soon. As planned, the ban was lifted and ISPs were directed to restore access and submit a compliance email. Almost as soon as access was restored, news channels in the country began reporting that the objectionable video that triggered the block in the first place was still up on the video-sharing website. The government then issued a fresh ban on YouTube.
It was followed by a report stating that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had informed a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology that the government did not intend to unblock YouTube in the immediate future.
With inputs from news sources
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