Community video portal once again accessible to Pakistani internet users

YouTube is back in Pakistan’s good graces again, with the country deciding to remove YouTube from its censor blacklist after it removed a “blasphemous” video from the site.

The actual video in question seems to differ, depending on who’s telling the story. According to the AP, the video clip in question was a trailer for the upcoming film Forbidden, made by a Dutch filmmaker who said wanted to “release a movie portraying Islam as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.” Meanwhile, Pakistani Telecommunications Authority officials told the AFP that the video in question featured cartoons of the prophet Muhammad as published by Dutch newspapers in 2006.

Regardless of which videos were considered “totally anti-Quranic” and “very blasphemous,” some seem to think that the Pakistani government had a deeper agenda. Wahaj us Siraj, chief of the Pakistan Internet Service Providers Association, noted that “some Internet users are skeptical” over Pakistan’s official explanation.

“[They think] the government banned YouTube because it contained clips from a private television station which showed election rigging,” said Siraj.

“No Muslim would want to view the blasphemous content on any website,” said an anonymous internet user to the AFP, “the government is really disturbed over its defeat in elections and afraid of critical videos and remarks on YouTube.”

When Pakistan initially blocked YouTube last Sunday, an implementation error triggered a worldwide outage of the site for almost two hours. According to a senior PTA official, “this was not intentional and might have happened when an international company, which is routing Internet traffic to Pakistan, tried to block [YouTube].”

The Pakistani government says it blocked YouTube to prevent a repeat of the violent protests that sprung up over the 2006 cartoon, which featured Muhammad with his head uncovered and a bomb for a turban. PTA spokeswoman Nabiha Mahmood said the government originally filed a complaint through YouTube’s complaint system, but YouTube never replied.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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