Anuradha ShettyJul 30, 2013 13:56:20 IST
The Pakistani government is mulling over the idea of restoring access to YouTube in the country after Eid-ul-Fitr, according to latest reports.
The popular video-viewing site found itself in trouble after it was found hosting clips from the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" movie. Following the outrage that ensued, the service was promptly blocked in Pakistan. YouTube continues to remain inaccessible in Pakistan, much to the disappointment of its users.
Pakistan's Minister of State Anusha Rahman has reportedly formed a committee comprising 12 members to look into the possibility of clearing the site of objectionable content, the very reason why the site was blocked. All said, the government has assured that all stakeholders will be taken into confidence before access is restored to YouTube in Pakistan.
Ban nearing its end?
Just this month, a court in Pakistan 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.
Last month, Rahman had even 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. Rahman 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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