YouTube blocked in Pakistan


Screen shot of the "Innocence of Muslims" video, obtained from YouTube. (Courtesy YouTube)
September 17, 2012

The government of Pakistan has reportedly blocked access to Google’s YouTube service, The Washington Post reported.

According to the report, Pakistani officials ordered suspension of the video service because of a “blasphemous” Web video excerpt of “The Innocence of Muslims,” a film that has been identified as a possible catalyst for a deadly attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya and protests in countries such as Egypt, India and Bangladesh.

As the Post reported, access to the clip is now blocked in Egypt, Libya, India, Indonesia and Afghanistan — countries that are home to more than a quarter of the world’s Muslim population of 1.6 billion.

The company said Wednesday that, while it found the video was within its community guidelines, it had voluntarily blocked access to the clip in Egypt and Libya due to the sensitive situations there. The governments of India and Indonesia formally asked Google to block the specific video, as did the government of Malaysia, Britain’s Globe and Mail reported. Afghanistan’s government has blocked the entire service, the Post reported, though its efforts to keep people from viewing the video have not been that effective.

YouTube could not immediately be reached for comment on the reports that its domain has been blocked in Pakistan.

According to the British newspaper’s report, anyone attempting to access YouTube from Pakistan sees a message saying that the site's content has been ruled as “indecent material” and has been blocked from view by the Pakistan Telecom Authority.

According to a report from the Associated Press, hundreds of Pakistanis protesting the film broke through a barricade near the U.S. Consulate in the northwestern city of Wari on Sunday. At least one demonstrator was killed, while several others were wounded, the report said. A second demonstration in Karachi, the report said, led to the arrests of 40 students.

Related stories:

Google’s restricting of anti-Muslim video shows role of Web firms as free-speech arbiters

YouTube: Restricting access to online film in Libya, Egypt following attack

U.S. ambassador to Libya, 3 other Americans killed in Benghazi

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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