February 25, 2008

Pakistan Denies Public Access to YouTube

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has forbidden public access to YouTube, while citing offensive anti-Islamic videos posted by users.

While the PTA did not divulge any specific information about the offensive videos, the country's 70 internet providers were told that public access to the video-sharing Web site would be blocked until further notice.

An unnamed PTA official said that the organization was also behind the censoring of objectionable drawings printed in European newspapers in 2006 which portrayed the image of the Prophet Muhammad.

The official said the YouTube ban was initiated in response to a trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. Wilders has announced that he hopes to release a movie which portrays the Islamic religion as fascist and violent toward women and homosexuals.

Pakistan is not the first country to ban the worldwide video-sharing site. Last month, a Turkish court ruled that the site would be blocked due to video clips which allegedly insulted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founding father of Turkey, which is a criminal offense in the country.

Last year Thailand banned public access to YouTube for four months due to material which showed disrespect to monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Also, last year, Moroccan government halted access to the site after videos containing critical material about how the government treated the people of Western Sahara were posted.  

The PTA said it would unblock the site as soon as YouTube removes the questionable material. It has also asked the public to write YouTube and request the removal of the offensive videos.


On the Net:

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority


Associated Press