Pakistan lifts YouTube ban

Access to YouTube restored, but Facebook remains blocked after cartoon controversy.

    Muslims were outraged after a Facebook page invited cartoons on the Prophet Mohammad  [AFP]

    "There are around 1,200 URLs which have been blocked. These are not websites but links," Mehran said.

    Angry protests

    A Pakistani court had on May 19 ordered that Facebook  be blocked. The PTA implemented the ban on Facebook and also blocked YouTube and restricted access to other websites, including Wikipedia. The PTA's decision to block Youtube was not ordered by the court.

    Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, which owns YouTube, said he suspected that suppressing political criticism was a factor in the decision to block the site.  

    Protests erupted over the past week, with Muslim protesters burning US flags and shouting "Death to Facebook".

    Mamoon-ur-Rasheed, a flag maker in Pakistan, said the row had been good for his business with his replica American flags selling briskly.

    "Work gets a boost when international controversy concerning Muslisms breaks out... it is really enjoyable when you see your work on TV screens," Rashid said.

    The Pakistani government "strongly condemned" the sketches of Prophet Mohammad and ordered the information technology ministry to "ensure that such blasphemous material is not allowed to appear on the internet in Pakistan".

    Rehman Malik, Pakistan's interior minister, said Facebook would be back up within days, though pages containing blasphemous material would remain blocked.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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