Pakistan may soon lift a year old ban on YouTube as early as September, according to the officials. Almost a year from now the country banned YouTube for a video that it deemed to insult the Prophet Muhammad.
Users may not be allowed full access
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Pakistan will not allow users to fully access YouTube, and may limit use with a URL blocker, to have any eye on sensitive videos that can hurt local sentiments. Blocking technology is already in place to reduce access to videos on Vimeo and “thousands” of websites, including pornographic and politically-sensitive content.
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Google refused to censor video
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) refused to censor the much controversial video “Innocence of Muslims” locally in Pakistan, which resulted in the ban on services. The search engine giant not only maintained stiffly that the contents in the video are not breaching its terms and conditions, but it took a further step by not censoring the video in Pakistan, where Google has no local version of YouTube, no local staff and no conditions that might safeguard it from being directly (and legally) responsible for any YouTube content that is deemed unlawful.
Ban was widely opposed
In Pakistan, many groups raised their voices against the ban on the video. In January, one of the groups was formed to lobby the government to lift the ban on the video site. A court hearing was allowed with an IT minister, earlier this month.
According to CNN, artist Adil Omar did not receive the due response for his work due to the ban on YouTube in Pakistan. Omar has worked with many internationally renowned rappers. Omar says that at present his songs are receiving just one tenth of the popularity compared to his past works.
Pakistan in process to lift the ban
Pakistan once lifted the ban in December 2012, but it was put in place again within five minutes after it was aired on TV that the controversial video is still on YouTube through copies uploaded to other users.
However, it looks like Pakistan will finally lift the ban this time as government spokesman Kamran Ali, who is heading the YouTube ban review committee, said that government is in discussions with experts and will revoke the ban “as soon as we get a technical solution to block that video.”
It is known that the IT ministry has entered into dialogue with the prime minister’s office with an official request to lift the ban from YouTube. Some sources believe that the ban may be lifted next month, but officials have not confirmed.
There was no comment from Google over the issue.