Pakistan is famous for interesting news. Censors were lifted from YouTube on Saturday after it remained banned over an anti-islam video. However, the censorship was again imposed only after 3 minutes when it was reported by a news channel that the blasphemous material continued to remain available on the video sharing site. It came as a rude awakening to the government claims that necessary measures were in place to block the offensive content.
The ban on YouTube was imposed by the Paksitan Government on 17th September after strong protests against a YouTube video which ridiculed Prophet Muhamamd ( PBUH) . In order to calm down the religious protestors, Government of Pakistan passed an order binding all ISPs to block the YouTube website.
But some people claimed that it was a censorship and a growing number of internet users had termed the ban as an effective reaction, which was not in line with how internet worked. An editorial by progressive Express Tribune newspaper observed in an editorial on the 100th day of the ban:
“This is purely a naked power play by the government and one that we should resist. “This is about controlling our behavior and denying us access to the Internet.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,” the editorial, observing the 100th day of the ban, went on to say. “Retreating to such an era would essentially mean that we were longer living in a democracy.”
Rehman Malik, the Interior Minister tweeted that the ban would be lifted on the weekend. He said that necessary firewalls were being installed to block blasphemous and pornographic material on internet. The ban was subsequently lifted on Saturday but it was again placed only after 3 minutes. Prime Minister RAja Pervez Ashraf ordered the ban again, caving in to religious pressures from right.
Such flip-flops are a norm in Pakistan and people ridiculed the government for this backtracking. They spoke of incompetency of the government which has not been able to acquire and put in place necessary firewalls even after months. YouTube has many educational and entertainment users who are feeling uneasy over this long ban.