Pakistan Re-Friends YouTube After Three-Year Banishment

Pakistan has ended its ban on YouTube that began in 2012 over "Innocence of Muslims," an anti-Islam movie upload that triggered demonstrations and violent protests in various countries, Pakistan among them. Over a dozen people died in protests that took place in Pakistan. The ban was to remain in place until Google allowed government officials to screen for "blasphemous content."

Google didn't bend quite as far, though it did assure a senior official in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority that blasphemous content had been taken down. The company also agreed to field reports for review and, if necessary, restrict access to YouTube viewers living in Pakistan. What Google didn't do is bake in a filter that would allow Pakistan officials to block content themselves -- all such requests will go through Google.


"In addition, where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country, we may restrict access to it after a thorough review. Government requests to remove content will continue to be tracked, and included in our Transparency Report," a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.

The action is similar to what Google has done with YouTube in other regions of the world.

While people in Pakistan are happy that YouTube is once again available, there's concern among free speech activists in the region that future content restrictions will extend beyond blasphemous content and into the political arena