YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan for some time, but talk of unblocking it has been swirling for more than a year. Before the remove the block, however, Pakistani lawmakers want to localize the content, limiting it by stripping material that could be blasphemous from it.
Draft bill seeks YouTube localization
Dawn.com reports that Anusha Rehman, the Minister of State for Information Technology, told the National Assembly today that the Standing Committee on IT is considering a draft bill that would localize YouTube in Pakistan. After Parliament passes the bill, the Pakistani government would then contact YouTube owner Google to seek the rights to manage the video sharing website’s content locally.
The purpose of localizing content would be to remove potentially offensive material from YouTube.
YouTube still banned in some countries
She pointed out that some Muslim countries still block YouTube. However, those in which the video sharing site is operating are localizing the content, which is also subject to legislation. She added that websites which operate under American law aren’t governed by Pakistani laws, so in order to prevent blasphemous content from being shared on the sites, they must bring them under Pakistani law.
Parliamentary Secretary Cabinet Diision Raja Javed Akhlas previously said YouTube and other sites “had hurt emotions of Muslims across the world and in Pakistan also.” For this reason, Pakistani lawmakers want to subject YouTube to their laws before unblocking them.
Pakistan moves toward unblocking YouTube
He also said the government is not opposed to unblocking YouTube, as many have claimed. He said they will unblock the video sharing website after the proper legislation is in place. He said there’s no technical way to control potentially offensive material on YouTube, which is why they blocked the website entirely through court orders.
However, Google has shown signs of wanting to work with lawmakers, removing the full-length film Innocence of Muslims, although it only did that after receiving a U.S. court order. Also the search giant has left other content that may be objectionable to Muslims.
After Pakistan’s Parliament passes the localization bill, however, Google should also respond to court orders from Pakistan.