Pakistan cuts off all access to YouTube

YouTube is no longer available in Pakistan due to a government-imposed blockade.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Pakistan has now blocked YouTube entirely from the country, after the video sharing site declined to remove the "Innocence of Muslims" trailer that sparked protests throughout the world.

Attempting to browse to the site results in users within Pakistan being redirected to a page that states "this page is blocked due to restrictions enforced by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA)," even if the video is not related to the offending trailer.

The PTA has stated that it was ordered by the Chief Justice of Pakistan to block all anti-Islamic videos. It had previously been provided with a list of 753 anti-Islamic sites, which has now grown to 934 sites.

Google's Transparency Report shows that, at about 7 a.m. AEST (2 p.m. PT), YouTube traffic from Pakistan dropped off dramatically, and states that the site is inaccessible from the country.

Google has not put in place a country-wide block, and has told ZDNet that there are no issues with its network that would prevent Pakistan users from visiting the site.

YouTube has previously stated that the video is "clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube," but the Australian Department of Broadband and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) disagrees with the video remaining online, stating that the video is "clearly offensive" and is calling on Google to "review its terms of service to see if they are being appropriately applied in this case."

"Australia has strong anti-vilification laws. If people believe this video is in breach of these laws, they can make a complaint to Google or the Human Rights Commission," the department said in a statement.

"What people shouldn't do is engage in violent protests on the streets. It is totally unacceptable behaviour and should be condemned."

DBCDE did not respond to queries as to whether it had actually made a request of its own to have the video removed.

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