YouTube Banned within 2 Hours of Reinstatement in Pakistan

There is a famous Bollywood number called as – It happens only in India. Today, I am playing this song over and over in my mind by replacing India with Pakistan. YouTube ban was lifted this afternoon and within 2 hours, it was banned yet again. Truly, these quirky things happen in Pakistan only.

YouTube was banned in Pakistan on 17th of September 2012 as the video super-house hosted the movie – The Innocence of Muslims, a movie believed to blasphemous to the Islam faith. YouTube made provisions for the movie to be made unavailable in Pakistan after a period of 103 days. Pakistani government after confirming the unavailability of the movie, decided to unblock the website.

The ban was lifted today, and as ISPs started to unblock them, TV channels across Pakistan started to report the availability of the movie on the YouTube database in Pakistan. Within a couple of hours, the Pakistan government swiftly moved into banning it again.

The question to ponder over here was the review process that the Pakistani government undertook in order to unblock YouTube for public consumption. What checks were done before the go-ahead order and what did the TV channels do differently that they were able to access the movie on YouTube’s database while the government didn’t.

It is possible to find ways to upload blocked content using an alias, and there are countless other ways that my ethical hacker friends can suggest as well. So, if YouTube’s efforts have been towards taking out content which was identifiable by them, then Pakistani Government must respect it and restore the website. If they find more copies of the ‘blasphemous’ movie, let them point it out and it could be taken out on a case to case basis. Blanket ban is stupidity in action.

Abhinav Kaiser

Abhinav Kaiser is an author and a management consultant. He has authored Reinventing ITIL in the Age of DevOps, Become ITIL Foundation Certified in 7 Days and Workshop in a Box: Communication for IT Professionals. He works as an agile/devops coach in one of the top consulting firms. He advises businesses, organizations and enterprises in the areas of DevOps, IT service management and agile project management frameworks.

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