Pakistan warns Google to 'clean' YouTube or face ban

Pakistan warns Google to 'clean' YouTube or face ban

Summary: Country's new minister of state for IT and telecommunications threatens to block all of Google's services if the search giant does not remove "blasphemous and objectionable" on its video sharing site.

TOPICS: Censorship, Google
Pakistan's minister of state for IT and telecommunications says if negotiations fall through, the country will block Google.

Pakistan's new IT minister has warnedit would block Google in the country if the company fails to remove "blasphemous and objectionable" material from YouTube.

The country's minister of state for IT and telecommunications Anusha Rahman Khan, made the remarks on her first day in office on Sunday while talking about Pakistan's efforts to end a nine-month ban on YouTube for hosting clips from the controversial anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims", The Times of India reported. 

The parent company of YouTube had rejected requests from the previous Pakistan People's Party-led government to remove the objectionable material and Khan said she hoped the company will listen to the new government.

"It all depends on our negotiation clout. If they persist with their stance, we can block Google in Pakistan as a last resort as there are many alternative search engines available on the Web," Khan was quoted as saying in Pakistan news site, The News Daily.

In response to queries, Google told ZDNet Asia it offered localized versions of YouTube with customized content in 56 countries worldwide and abides by the laws and restrict access to videos when notified that it is illegal. 

However, Pakistan was not on the list so it continues to access the global version of YouTube, Google noted.

"It is Google's goal to offer local versions of YouTube to more places worldwide, but it takes time," a Google spokesperson said. "The localization process can be lengthy as we research laws and build relationships with local content creators. Eventually, we hope to be localized everywhere."

"Innocence of Muslims" triggered violent protests by right wing groups across Pakistan and the former government sanctioned a day of protests in September last year. Pakistan then banned YouTube on September 17, 2013 but in January, the country's prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said the government will lift the ban and reopen YouTube after work on a filter mechanism is complete.

Topics: Censorship, Google

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • Why? Why?

    Why Google (and. as a matter of fact, any other western company) still make business in that hellhole? Stop sending billions of our taxpayer money and let them thrive on their own.
    • Cause they have something companies want?

      Money, oil, cheap labor, you name it.
      BTW, why would you say they send taxpayer's money? Google does not take taxpayer's money to the best of my knowledge.
      As for the Muslim (or any other) religious zealots: %$^%$ you guys.
  • Pakistan?

    Now, THERE is a tech powerhouse!
  • Enjoy it

    So you're going to block websites that host content you deem inimical to Islam? Enjoy living in the 13th century fellahs.
  • All The Interesting Pakistanis... in Birmingham, anyway.

    Hmm, wonder if Malala has seen "Citizen Khan"...