Last week, Pakistan’s government decided to block access to the popular video sharing Web site YouTube for offering material that it deemed was blasphemous and offensive to Muslims. Now, Pakistan’s government has relented…a bit. Pakistan will again permit its citizen to access YouTube, but will block access to specific videos it deems objectionable.
Pakistan is still blocking access to the social networking site Facebook over a contest to draw cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
Although some elements in Pakistani society approved of the government’s action to block access to YouTube, Facebook, and hundreds of other sites that were deemed to be carrying offensive content, many questions why the government was block access to entire sites when the vast majority of content they offer is not objectionable. The government’s latest move regarding YouTube would seem to be a more measured approach, blocking only specific content it believes to be harmful or offensive.
Reports have a spokesperson for Pakistan’s information technology ministry saying Pakistan may re-examine its stance on Facebook and other sites at a court hearing at the end of May.
The current incident is not the first time Pakistan has blocked access to YouTube: it also shut off access to the site in early 2008 over similar concerns that the site carried material offensive to Muslims.