A year after the suspension of YouTube, Pakistan government is all set to take back the suspension and unblock YouTube as early as September, which had been blocked due to a video that deemed to insult the prophet Muhammad.
Although, complete access won’t be granted to YouTube by Pakistan as the reports from the Wall Street Journal reports claim that, it will use a URL blocker to censor locally sensitive videos without knocking out the site in its entirety. To limit access to videos on Vimeo and thousands of other websites, that includes pornographic and politically-sensitive content.
Because Google refused to censor the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video locally in Pakistan, a ban was initiated by the Pakistan Government. YouTube seems to be reluctant to make censorship decisions in a country where it has no local version of YouTube, no conditions and no local staff that protect it from being openly responsible for any YouTube content that is deemed illegal.
The ban has been disparaged by many in the country’s entertainment industry. To overturn the ban in January, and get a court hearing with an IT minister earlier this month, a group started lobbying the government. CNN highlighted, Musician Adil Omar who is one of the artists affected and one who has worked with a no. of internationally-renowned rappers. He claims that latest songs on YouTube have drawn one-tenth of the interest of his past work.
Lifted back in December 2012, the plan was reinstated within five minutes after a TV show journalist demonstrated the video which was still available on YouTube.
It is serious about relaxing the ban. Kamran Ali, a Government spokesman who is leading the YouTube ban review committee, told the Journal that the government is chatting to experts and will lift the ban as soon as they get a technical solution to block that video.
The IT ministry is said to have contacted the Prime Minister’s office with an official request to unblock YouTube and could be ended next month, though officials have declined to provide a time frame. Contacted Google for comment and will update this article with any additional information that we’re given.