Monday, January 18, 2016

Pakistan set to officially unblock YouTube after 3 years

KARACHI: The Ministry of Information Technology has directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to unblock YouTube for internet users in the country within 48 hours.

The world's most popular video streaming website was initially blocked in Pakistan over three and a half years back.

Informed sources in the IT ministry told Geo News that internet users across Pakistan will now be able to access the website within the next 48 hours. The sources said that the IT ministry has ordered PTA to issue directives to Internet Services Providers (ISPs) to unblock the website across the country.

The development comes days after the PTA told the Supreme Court in a report that it was now possible to remove objectionable videos from the website after Google launched a localized of Youtube for Pakistan.

PTA had told the court that objectionable content had been removed from the localised version of the website and that there was no reason left to continue blocking the website's IP in the country.

The government had blocked YouTube in Pakistan in September 2012, after receiving information about continuing access to a contentious blasphemous video created and uploaded in the United States on YouTube.

Last week, Google announced that it had launched localised versions in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, paving the way for the website to be unblocked in Pakistan.

“We aim to provide an even more tailored YouTube experience by launching versions that are optimised for Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. We also hope that this will pave the way for the work of local creators, personalities, and musicians to shine on the world’s largest and most vibrant video community,” a Google spokesperson had said.

“We continue to engage with industry, governments, and civil society groups globally to ensure the Internet remains open, safe, and secure.”

With over 1 billion monthly users worldwide, YouTube is the world’s largest online video sharing community, and is now available in 88 countries locally, as well as in 76 global languages.

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