YouTube back on in Pakistan three years after blasphemy suspension

Video-sharing website YouTube is available again in Pakistan, more than three years after it was suspended following violent protests related to a short video deemed insulting to the Muslim prophet Muhammad, Pakistani officials said Monday.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered internet service providers to once again make the website available after Google, which owns the site, introduced a country-specific, localized version, government spokesman Khurram Mehran told dpa.

Internet users in several Pakistani cities, such as Lahore and Peshawar, said they were able to surf the site by the late afternoon.

“I was surprising to see YouTube working today and it was a pleasant surprise,” said Amjad Khan from the north-western city of Peshawar, who was against the government ban.

Pakistani authorities banned the site in September 2012 after a short movie, the Innocence of Muslims, triggered massive protests, resulting in the death of at least six people.

Digital rights activists have since been pushing the government to lift the ban, but authorities refused, saying they would allow the site only if Google remove the blasphemous content.

Last week, the government and Google reached an agreement for the launch of a localized version, which means the technology giant can remove any content considered inappropriate.

Last update: Mon, 18/01/2016 - 14:04

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