ISLAMABAD, Dec 28: Good news for YouTube users: The government has decided to lift a ban imposed about three and a half months ago because of anti-Islamic material on the video-sharing website.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik tweeted on Friday that the decision had been taken to reopen YouTube after a meeting with relevant quarters.
He said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority was in final stages of negotiations for acquiring a powerful firewall software to block all pornographic and blasphemous material.
“There is a great demand for unblocking YouTube from all sections of society, especially fellow Twitters,” he said.
The minister said a government notification about unblocking the website was expected in 24 hours. However, the notification was not issued till late in the night.
According to television reports, the Ministry of Information Technology had sent a summary to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and recommended the reopening of the website.
The reports quoting sources in the IT ministry said that although the Ministry of Interior had recommended the lifting of ban on YouTube, some sensitive departments had opposed the idea.
The government blocked YouTube on Sept 17 this year after the website refused to block sacrilegious content in Pakistan.
The PTA, acting on orders of the Supreme Court, started blocking links carrying the video. However, innumerable instances of videos being uploaded largely nullified PTA’s attempts.
The government also requested Google to block the clips from being accessed in Pakistan, but the internet giant did not entertain the request saying it not have localised services in the country which would allow location-based blocking.
The government finally imposed a blanket block on YouTube on Sept 17.
Besides Pakistan, countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Iran have also blocked YouTube for not removing anti-Islam videos.