No YouTube For Pakistan

Pakistan authorities have instructed all the Internet service providers of the country to block access to Youtube. The announcement came from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA).

Pakistan says that the popular video-sharing website Youtube is publishing “blasphemous” content. Islamic religious law says that no one may make a visual representation of Mohammaed.

The cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that appeared in a Danish newspaper last year have found their way on to YouTube, and this has caused the troubled country of Pakistan to decide to block access to the popular site.

A local Internet Service Provider received the notice from the PTA and said, “The site would remain blocked till further orders from the PTA”.

Some ISPs have also asked the users to write to the administrators to “remove the objectionable web content/movies because this removal would enable the authorities to order un-blocking of this website.”

Local media cited different reasons for the government move, some referring to a trailer from Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ controversial anti-Islam movie which is available on the site.

The ban also sparked speculation on mailing lists and blogs, and people wondered whether the blackout was connected to some other videos that had been uploaded to the site, implicating a certain political party in election rigging.

International media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders condemned the decision, saying it regards the measure as “disproportionate”.

YouTube is not the only site of late to run into problems with depictions of Mohammed. Wikipedia has received over 180,000 complaints with regards to two images on their site that clearly show the Prophet’s expressive face. Barring full removal of the images, complainants have requested that the two mental images at least be changed to blur his face. Wikipedia declined and said they are a neutral source of relevant information.