Google by-passes Pakistan ban by launching a local version of YouTube

Pakistan today said that it has removed a three-year ban on YouTube after the Google-owned video-sharing website launched a local version that allows the government to remove material it considers offensive.

Readers will remember that Pakistan banned access to YouTube in September 2012 after an anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslims“, was uploaded to the site, sparking violent protests across major cities in the Muslim-majority country of 190 million people.

After almost three years, Google managed to circumvent the ban by making a localised version of YouTube just for Pakistan. The top Internet watchdog of Pakistan, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom said in a statement that under the new version of YouTube, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority can ask for access to offending material to be blocked.

“On the recommendation of PTA, Government of Pakistan has allowed access to recently launched country version of YouTube for Internet users in Pakistan,” the ministry said.

“Google has provided an online web process through which requests for blocking access of the offending material can be made by PTA to Google directly and Google/YouTube will accordingly restrict access to the said offending material for users within Pakistan.”

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