Since September 2012, Pakistan has had a block in place, preventing its citizens from accessing Youtube. However on 29th December, the country’s higher ups lifted it temporarily in an effort to set up an in-house filter that would simply prevent people from seeing content it deemed inappropriate or blasphemous.
Unfortunately, that filter didn’t work particularly well, so before long the old site-wide block came into effect again.
While there is a lot of content on the site which the Pakistani authorities consider objectionable, the video that caused the ban to be implemented in the first place was a translation of the Innocence of Muslims video, which caused a lot of controversy earlier in the year. Despite claims by the country’s prime minister that such content would be blocked by the new filtering system, it was quickly discovered that it was still accessible even with the content sieve in place.
With the full block now reinstated, it seems likely that the digital protests within the country will continue. Many of the 25 million + internet users complained before this episode, about how the block was being used to control their behaviour.
The NYTimes suggested that this flip flop behaviour had further harmed the government’s position, making it seem inept in its handling of the obviously ineffective filter.
KitGuru Says: We’ve had to deal with blocks in the UK too, though it’s more to do with piratcy, than it is to do with poorly produced anti-islamic films.