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Asia-Pacific

Pakistan blocks YouTube

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Pakistan has banned the video-sharing site YouTube Thursday, a day after taking the same action against social-networking site Facebook because of an online group inviting users to draw the Prophet Mohammed.

 

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) shut down the country’s access to Facebook last night.

Because people have uploaded the images from Facebook to YouTube, Pakistan has now banned the video-sharing site too. Khurram Mehran, a spokesperson for the PTA told the AFP news agency that the agency at first just blocked the URL that was carrying the material, but after scores of complaints it blocked YouTube entirely.

“There is public outrage in this country. The government is reacting in a pretty desperate manner," says Najim Sethi editor of Friday Times. “They’ve banned not just Facebook, now you have YouTube. They’re also blocking Flickr, I’ve just heard that they’ve blocked Wikipedia…eager beavers sitting in the PTA and in other ministries are just going on and blocking sites.”

He does think the situation will be resolved, however.

“I think slowly you will hear voices of rationality saying that while the outrage is perfectly justified, the reaction is hurting Pakistan more than the offender, and that perhaps we ought to rationalize this. And, having made our point, perhaps we ought to get back to business as usual,” he says.

Wahaj us Siraj, a spokesman for the Internet Services Providers Association of Pakistan (Ispak) has confirmed that the PTA has banned YouTube indefinitely. Siraj also said that the two sites occupy 20 to 25 per cent of the country’s total internet traffic so they are seeing a drop.
 

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