Pakistan Lifts Ban on YouTube

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Pakistan has removed a three-year ban on YouTube after the Google-owned video-sharing website launched a local version that allows the government to demand removal of material it considers offensive.

Pakistan banned access to YouTube in September 2012 after an anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslims”, was uploaded to the site, sparking violent protests across major cities in the Muslim-majority country of 190 million people.

Under the new version of YouTube, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) can ask for access to offending material to be blocked.

On the recommendation of PTA, the government of Pakistan has allowed access to the recently launched country version of YouTube for internet users in Pakistan.

The government could ask Google to block access to offending material for users within Pakistan and the ministry said Google and YouTube would “accordingly restrict access” for Pakistani users.

Google, however, said that it would not automatically remove material without conducting a review, and that the vetting process was the same as in other jurisdictions with local YouTube versions. Government requests to remove content would be publicly reported.

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