Pakistan Lifts YouTube Ban– For A Few Hours

The government’s new filter, designed to block blasphemous websites, didn’t work, so the authorities reimposed the blackout.

Pakistan Lifts YouTube Ban– For A Few Hours

Pakistan’s rescinding of a four-month ban on YouTube lasted just hours after an Internet filter designed to block blasphemous sites proved useless. The government, whose plan for a National Firewall plan went up in smoke (do you see what I… oh, never mind) last year, had been under fire for the blanket ban, as it had been affecting the use of Android phones in the country. Interior Minister Rehman Malik tweeted the news that his country’s ISPs were about to be told to lift the ban, because Pakistan had acquired software that would “totally block pornographic and blasphemous material.” On the lifting of the Internet sanctions, however, the contentious material was still visible. And so the shutters came down again.

This last ban was imposed after the furor over an anti-Islamic video, Innocence of Muslims, led to rioting in Libya and Egypt in September 2012. This is not the first time Pakistan has pulled the plug on certain websites–back in 2010, it blocked the Google-owned video-sharing site, alongside Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, and another 400 or so websites it considered blasphemous.

[Image via Flickr user ell brown]

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.