Pakistan lifts ban on YouTube


- dEsPeraTe cRaNky -
Pakistani authorities have lifted a ban on video-sharing website YouTube though Internet links with objectionable material such as blasphemous caricatures will continue to be blocked, officials said today.

The Information and Technology Ministry lifted the ban on YouTube, which was blocked six days ago after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority began cracking down on "blasphemous" and sacrilegious content.

Pakistani Internet service providers restored access to YouTube late this evening.

Officials said videos deemed offensive to Muslims that are posted on YouTube will continue to be blocked.

Acting on an order of the Lahore High Court, PTA initially blocked social networking website Facebook for hosting a page that promoted a contest to draw blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.

Internet service providers have so far blocked about 800 URLs that link to "sacrilegious" content.

Since last week, religious and hardline groups have organised protests across the country against the caricatures.

YouTube was briefly banned in Pakistan in 2008 for carrying material deemed offensive to Muslims.

Facebook continues to be banned and the Lahore High Court's order on the social networking website is applicable till May 31.

In a message posted on Twitter today, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a meeting of the federal cabinet had condemned "blasphemous material" on websites.

He said the cabinet had also accepted his proposal to block only objectionable "sections of Facebook and YouTube".