Pakistan reportedly lifted the ban on YouTube for a very brief period of time on Saturday. Reports indicate the site was available for around three minutes. Some outlets state users had access to content for around three hours.
Regardless of how long the site was available, YouTube’s return to Pakistan didn’t last very long. According to CNET, the ban was reportedly reinstated after it was learned that offensive material was still accessible.
Pakistan restricted access to the video sharing website on September 17 after controversy erupted over a trailer for director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s film Innocence of Muslims. The film, which reportedly portrays the Prophet Mohammed in a very negative light, sparked protests around the globe.
BBC News reports that the ban was reportedly lifted after the government installed firewall software that was supposed to filter out offensive or pornographic material. Since the software wasn’t doing the job officials had anticipated, the YouTube ban was effectively reinstated.
Once YouTube was available in Pakistan once again, officials wasted no time in determining if material associated with Innocence of Muslims was still in place. As soon as it was learned the offensive video was there, officials felt compelled to turn access off once again.
An editorial posted by the English-language newspaper The Express Tribune described the government’s behavior regarding YouTube as a “power play” that the people of Pakistan “should resist.”
The publication wrote:
“We need to make it clear that we do not wish to regress to a dark age when a centralized authority controlled all access to information. Retreating to such an era would essentially mean that we were no longer living in a democracy.”
As of this writing, it’s currently unknown when or if government officials will once again allow its citizens to have access to YouTube.
What do you think about Pakistan lifting its ban on YouTube for an estimated three minutes?