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Pakistan blocks YouTube over 'blasphemous' video

updated 05:12 pm EDT, Mon September 17, 2012

Prime minister demands block following protests

YouTube has been banned in Pakistan after Google refused to remove a video deemed "blasphemous" from the site. Prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has ordered the Ministry of Information and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block the site, preventing the country's inhabitants from viewing a controversial video mocking the prophet Muhammad.

Protests erupted last week in response to the video, resulting in the death of four Americans, including the US Ambassador, in the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The protests are ongoing, with demonstrators marching in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Lebanon.

After the US embassy attack, the White House called for YouTube to remove the video from the service. In response, Google blocked access to the video for users in India, Indonesia, Libya, and Egypt, but stopped short of taking the video offline, citing the freedom of speech for the video's creator. At present, the video is preceded by a warning for "being potentially offensive or inappropriate."

The PTA has a history of blocking sites deemed obscene in the country. It previously blocked Twitter for a post deemed offensive, before restoring access to the service, and in February, it had blocked 13,000 other websites for similar issues. [via ZDNet]

by MacNN Staff



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