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Pakistan senators demand an end to YouTube ban

Continued blocking of site serves no purpose, they say

Pakistan senators demand an end to YouTube ban reporter, Islamabad

April 22, 2014

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A panel of Pakistani senators called on Monday for the government to lift its ban on YouTube, describing the blocking of the popular video sharing website as “useless and unjustified”.

YouTube was blocked in September 2012 over a film deemed offensive to Muslims.

The film, Innocence of Muslims, made by a group of anti-Islamic extremists in the USA, triggered violent protests across Pakistan which resulted in the deaths of 13 people.

Senator Afrasiab Khattak, chairman of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights, said that even the head of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority admitted that the ban was of no use as it is still possible for users to access offensive material on other websites.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that YouTube is a source of information for every segment of society. “The continued blockage of YouTube is unjustified considering there is no such ban in other Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

He added that no filtering mechanism could ensure a 100 percent block on objectionable online content.

Bolo Bhi, a non-profit group working on internet freedom, privacy and gender in Pakistan, has welcomed the resolution.

“We thank the members of the Senate Human Rights Committee for their unanimous support towards lifting the ban on YouTube in Pakistan,” the group said in a statement.                                                             

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