Pakistan blocks 20,000 'objectionable' sites

Regulator blocks access to sites, including YouTube, for hosting controversial content, in response to plans by court to take its chairman to task for not doing so earlier against controversial anti-Islam film.

Pakistani authorities have blocked around 20,000 Web sites, including YouTube, for hosting controversial materials such as footage from the anti-Islam movie "Innocence of Muslims".

An official from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), who declined to be named, told The Press Trust of India (PTI) on Monday the "objectionable" Web sites and blogs have been blocked since the "blasphemous" film surfaced on the Internet, and they were strictly following the court's orders, the Times of India reported.

He was referring to a sessions court in capital Lahore, which ordered the registration of a case against the PTA chairman for the organization's failure to block footage from the anti-Islam film on the Internet.

The ban on YouTube, due to a government-imposed blockade is also unlikely to be lifted in the near future, the official added.

"The ban on YouTube will continue as long as it does not remove the blasphemous film. Pakistan can take no chances on lifting the ban as people are not ready to accept this film," he said.

If YouTube continues sticking to its stance that it cannot block access to the anti-Islam film, the ban will continue for an indefinite period, he said.

"Innocence of Muslims" has caused massive protests across Pakistan, which has resulted in at least 23 deaths and the destruction of property worth billions of rupees, the Indian news site noted.

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