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Pakistan Bans YouTube Over Controversial Video

In an attempt to appease the growing unrest in the country, the Government of Pakistan decided to block the social networking site YouTube as of Monday, September 17, 2012. The move came hours after protests in the southern city of Karachi turned violent, leaving two protesters dead.

The order for the ban came from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf after the request for removal of the infamous video was refused. A statement from his office said “The direction has been given after YouTube refused to heed to the advice of the government of Pakistan to remove blasphemous material from its site.”

The trailer of the movie titled ‘Innocence of Muslims’ unleashed a series of violent protests when it was uploaded onto YouTube last week. The movie was made by Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American real-estate developer who wanted to showcase his view of Islam as a hateful religion. Muslims across the world have taken to streets to condemn this movie and are demanding its removal from YouTube. The United States (US) consulates in as many as 20 countries have come under attack, with angry mobs pelting stones and chanting anti-US slogans.

Students of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad protesting against the film 'Innocence of Muslims'. The Pakistani Government have blocked YouTube, and announced a holiday on Friday to protest against it. Image by Sultan Dogar. Copyright Demotix (18/9/2012)

Students of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad protesting against the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’. The Pakistani Government have blocked YouTube, and announced a holiday on Friday to protest against it. Image by Sultan Dogar. Copyright Demotix (18/9/2012)

In Pakistan, the protests began on Friday (14th of September, 2012) after the prayers when people marched towards the US consulates in rallies organized by various religious parties. Due to increased security of all diplomatic agencies, the protests were controlled and no casualties were reported.

The situation turned worse on the eve of Sunday, September 16, when a group of people protesting outside the US consulate in Karachi clashed with the police. As all the roads leading to the consulate being heavily cordoned off, friction between the protesters and the security personal resulted in aerial firing. Dozens of people were seriously wounded as a result of which two later succumbed to their injuries. The embassy was pelted with stones and a police post was also set on fire.

In Peshawar, the protest also turned violent when the protesters were barred from entering the consulate. The police tried to disperse the crowd using tear gas shells and aerial firing that injured two people.

On Tuesday in neighbouring Afghanistan, a suicide bomb claimed the lives of 12 people in retaliation for the movie.

While Google has blocked access to the infamous video in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Libya and Malaysia it has not been removed. Reports of YouTube being banned in Bangladesh have now surfaced after the request for the removal went unheeded.

According to the acting Chairman of Bangladesh’s telecommunications, Giashuddin Ahmed, the website was banned to website “to prevent violence and social disorder over the derogatory video”.

Facebook status of the largest Islamic faith community online on its demand to remove blasphemous movie about Mohammed at YouTube. Image by Sherbien Dacalanio. copyright Demotix

Facebook status of the largest Islamic faith community online on its demand to remove blasphemous movie about Prophet Mohammed at YouTube. Image by Sherbien Dacalanio. copyright Demotix (17/9/2012)

The reaction in Pakistan over the YouTube ban have so far been mixed.

@DrAQ_Khan: I am certainly in favor of permanent ban on youtube if they are not willing to remove the disgraceful material from their site #YoutubeBan

‏@vak: instead of handling the situation intelligently, let's build a wall around ourselves #pta #youtubeban

@FayXaan: I totally support #YoutubeBan until they delete those vdos, & make an international law 4 future abt it,as its there 4 child & animal abuse

@SecularlyYours‏: First class display of #MuslimRage by the#Pakistani government: #YouTubeBan. Idiots. & then the world wonders why Pakistan is in dark ages.

13 comments

  • […] three months of a government imposed ban on YouTube, Pakistanis could finally access the video sharing site on December 29, 2012. But the relief was […]

  • […] is not the first ban on social media services in Pakistan. YouTube has been banned for more than a year and Facebook has been blocked on multiple […]

  • […] 合衆国連邦巡回区控訴裁判所は、反イスラム映画「イノセンス・オブ・ムスリム」の予告編をサイトから削除するようYouTubeに求めた命令を覆した。2012年、この動画の公開が引き金となって、中東および北アフリカ各地で暴力的な抗議活動が起こった。この動画を配信しているという理由でYouTubeをブロックした国もエジプトやパキスタンを含めて何カ国かあった。当時、適切な同意なしに自身の映像を予告編動画の中で使われた女優シンディー・リー・ガルシア氏が、著作権を理由にGoogleを訴えた際には、裁判所はYouTubeにこの動画の削除を命令した。しかし今週の判決(訳注:2015年5月18日)では、控訴裁判所はガルシア氏に契約上請求の権利がある可能性は認めながらも、「本来、表現の自由を抑圧するのではなく促進するためにあるべき著作権法が、言論の自由の抑圧のために使われる」ことについては否定的な判断を下した。控訴裁判所のM・マーガレット・マッキューン判事によれば、「この控訴から得られる教訓はシンプルです。それは、根拠薄弱な著作権の申し立てでは、著者だと主張して検閲を正当化することはできない、ということです」 […]

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