Friday, May 21, 2010

Blocking access to the website “Facebook”, Pakistan’s government on Thursday blocked the popular video sharing website “YouTube”

A statement released by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said that YouTube had been blocked due to "objectionable content." However, the statement did not specify the nature of content.

All internet service providers were directed by the PTA on Thursday to block YouTube. All internet users were unable to access the site after 11:00am.

A PTA official wishing not to be named said the action was taken after the PTA authorities determined that some sacrilegious caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad were transferred from Facebook to YouTube.
Wahaj-us-Siraj, the CEO of Nayatel, an Internet service provider, said the blocking of the two websites would cut up to 25 percent of total Internet traffic in Pakistan.

"It'll have an impact on the overall Internet traffic as they eat up 20 to 25 percent of the country's total 65 giga-bytes traffic," he said.

The move follows the Lahore High Court's order to block Facebook for an indefinite period as it acted on a petition filed by the Islamic Lawyers Forum, which had sought a complete ban on the social networking website.

The court also directed the foreign ministry to raise the issue of the blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed at an international forum.
Meanwhile, demonstrations continued on Thursday across the country in protest against the social networking website, Facebook.

At a demonstration outside the parliament, protesters urged the government to raise the issue at the international level. Addressing a press conference later, Talha Mehmood, chairman of the Senate standing committee on interior affairs, urged the government to redefine its relations with the West against the backdrop of an increase in incidents hurting religious sentiments of the Muslims.

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