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The Pakistani government lifted on Saturday its YouTube ban after an anti-Islam video on the website stirred riots among Muslims, but reimposed it three minutes later when they found irreverent clips were still on-site.
Pakistani officials lifted the ban on YouTube after months of continuous bashing from locals to restore access to the popular online video-sharing site.
The authorities said filters were in place to hide offensive content, but quickly retraced their course in a seemingly miscarried attempt.
On September 17, Pakistanis went to the streets furious over a US-made YouTube video that poked fun at Prophet Muhammad.
The government immediately told the country’s telecoms companies to prevent online content regarded as anti-Muslim and advised locals to inform them on such material.
Around 25 million Internet users in the country griped that the ban on YouTube is merely government censorship to control its people.
The Express Tribune, an English language gazette based in Karachi, wrote on Friday in a column that the move exercises ‘naked power play’ by the Pakistani.
“This is about controlling our behavior and denying us access to the Internet. We need to make it clear that we do not wish to regress to a dark age when a centralized authority controlled all access to information. Retreating to such an era would essentially mean that we were longer living in a democracy,” read the editorial to mark the 100th day of the ban.
According to The New York Times, Rehman Malik, the country’s interior minister, said on Friday evening that the government will lift the ban by Saturday or Sunday and security systems installed by computer experts will block pornography and sacrilegious content.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered local Internet service providers (ISPs) to open their doors to YouTube on Saturday.
Geo, a private TV news network with a large following, reported by Saturday afternoon that anti-Muslim and blasphemous content were still accessible on YouTube.
Ansar Abbasi, editor of Investigations at The News International and a right wing journalist who frequently opines on morality and religion, spearheaded the criticisms.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf gave in to the demand of critics and directed ISPs to reinstate the ban on YouTube.
The U-turn generated severe censures from users and ignited a rapid active commotion of jests on Twitter on the Pakistani government’s nervous actions and turnabout.
Zubair Kasuri, the editor of Karachi-based telecoms mag Flare, shared with The NY Times his astonishment on the government’s failure to set up a working firewall when it had several months to perfect it.
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