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Pakistan 27 February 2008

YouTube access unblocked after offending videos removed

The video-sharing website YouTube is against accessible within Pakistan. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) yesterday asked the country’s 70 ISPs to restore access to the site following the removal of videos considered “blasphemous.”

The PTA said it had ordered the blockage of the entire site until the offending videos were taken down. It referred to videos featuring Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is one of the nine representatives of the conservative Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Dutch parliament.

Wilders announced last November that he was making a filming illustrating the Koran’s “fascist” passages. He previously tried to get the Koran banned on the grounds that it was incompatible with Dutch laws.

A mistake by Pakistani technicians while executing the order to block access to YouTube within Pakistan resulted in access to the site being rendered difficult or impossible throughout the world for about two hours on 24 February.

23.02 - Access to YouTube blocked until further notice because of “non-Islamic” videos

Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s decision by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block access to the video-sharing website YouTube . Claiming that the proportion of “non-Islamic objectionable video” had increased on YouTube, the PTA, the official Internet regulatory body, ordered all Pakistani ISPs to block access to the website until further notice.

“It should not be up to the PTA to order this kind of blocking” the press freedom organisation said. “Such a decision should be taken by the courts, not by a body that is under the government’s control. Anyway, we regard this measure as disproportionate ans we find that the idea to respect a proportion of videos is opposed to the primary principle of sharing online videos website”.

Don’t Block the Blog (, a group of Pakistani bloggers who combat censorship, thinks the blockage order was prompted by two videos. One is anti-Islamic ( The other shows voters describing the fraud they witnessed during the parliamentary elections on 18 February (, which ended up being won by the opposition Pakistan People’s Party.

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