February 26, 2008

You Tube Ban in Pakistan

by Rachael Grant

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority banned access to You-Tube, the website where users can share videos, telling Pakistan’s seventy Internet service providers that the block would continue until further notice.

It hasn’t been specified what the offensive video was of, but an official for the PTA revealed that it was to do with an upcoming movie by Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker, who has said he is planning to release an anti-Koran movie that portrays Islam as inciting violence towards women and homosexuals.

The official, who refused to reveal his identity as he wasn’t speaking in an official capacity, said that the Authority also bans websites that depict what would be considered controversial images of Muhammad.

The Authority went on to suggest that users of You Tube email the site to encourage the removal of the offensive videos so that the ban can be lifted.

The block of You Tube in Pakistan follows suit of other countries who have blocked it in the past, with Turkey blocking it for videos insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s founding father, and Thailand banning You Tube for four months because of clips offensive to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s monarch.

In another incident, people in Morocco were unable to access the site following a ban because of videos that were critical towards the treatment of people in Western Sahara, a territory Morocco took control of in 1975.

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