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Pakistan Authorities Promise To Lift YouTube Ban Once Firewall Is In Place

Pakistani censorship issues that have been dogging firms such as YouTube and Facebook over the past few years may soon be a thing of the past, says the country's leader. Pervez Ashraf has promised that the ban, which has affected YouTube—although the censors did lift the veil on the video-sharing site for a few minutes at the end of last year—will eventually be lifted. "We believe in access to free information," the Prime Minister said. "The only reason not to unblock YouTube is the presence of blasphemous material on it. We will open it as soon as we have a filtration mechanism."

The block has been in place since September 2012, after mass rioting in Egypt and Libya over the Innocence of Muslims video.

There has been some to-ing and fro-ing over a firewall to protect Pakistanis from what the authorities see as blasphemous material. The Pakistani Telecommunications Authority is said to be in talks with Google about removing blasphemous material, but with YouTube's Community Guidelines falling firmly in the freedom of speech camp, the PTA's requests will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears.