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Pakistan, Bangladesh block YouTube over controversial movie trailer

The government in Pakistan said it had asked Google to block the offensive video

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Pakistan and Bangladesh have ordered a block on YouTube in their countries, in protest against Google's reluctance to block a controversial movie trailer that mocks the Prophet Muhammad on the video-sharing site.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ordered the blocking of YouTube late Monday, after YouTube refused to block the video at the request of the government, the press secretary to the prime minister, Shafqat Jalil, said on phone on Tuesday.

Bangladesh also decided to block YouTube temporarily after its requests to Google to block the controversial trailer in the country did not get a response, a spokesman for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said. "Once the offensive video is removed or blocked, we will restore the YouTube site in our country," he said.

One businessman complained on BTRC's Facebook page that his business was affected by the block on YouTube, but other comments were generally supportive of the decision of the government.

Pakistani networks blocked YouTube in the country from late Monday after receiving the prime minister's orders, a spokesman for the telecom regulator Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said on Tuesday.

The orders by the Pakistani government follow an order by the country's Supreme Court on Monday, ordering the PTA to block all links to the "offending material" on YouTube or any other website. The court did not however order the block of the entire YouTube site.

PTA said on Monday that it had blocked over 650 URLs on YouTube, besides links on other websites, indicating the proliferation of copycat videos and commentaries relating to the trailer on the Internet.

So far, Google has blocked the trailer in five countries: Egypt, Libya, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Although the company finds that the trailer is clearly within its guidelines and so will stay on YouTube, it has restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia.

The trailer was also blocked in Libya and Egypt given the very sensitive situations in these two countries, Google said last week. The US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed last week when a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was stormed by gunmen.

The trailer has led to protests at US embassies and consulates in various countries including Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Civil rights organisations such as Bytes for All, Pakistan are worried that the cutting off of communications channels, limiting access to information platforms, and other steps that curtail free expression could lead to a curb on the voices of individuals by politicians.

"Time and time again, we have witnessed in the past how censorship and filtering backed by religious reasons has eventually served political interests only," the organisation said in a statement on Tuesday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that the US government did not have anything to do with the video, but that the US does not and cannot stop individual citizens from expressing their views.

The video was filmed in the US by a person, or people, whose identity has yet to be established, according to some reports.

Google responded to requests for comment on the block of YouTube by the governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh with a brief statement. "We have received information from users that they cannot get access to YouTube in Pakistan and Bangladesh. We have checked our networks and there is nothing wrong on our side," it said in a statement. A Google spokeswoman also noted that YouTube isn't localised in Bangladesh.


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Sobu said: Seriously u say they cant stop a guy from expressing his views well then take it this way u express urs with videos but we dont we got our own wayi appreciate youtube blockedand should be till the video is removed they removed 911s videos that clearly stated it wasnt by any muslim and yeah if they cant remove itsoon people will move towards a new a better video sitewe dont need youtube

Lunacy said: This is ridiculous If they only blocked Youtube for one amateur video then why dont they block internet altogether since there are over a thousand anti-islam websites on the internet Of all sites they chose to block Youtube which also contained many educational videos by Islamic scholars

Mohsin Ghani said: I really appreciated to Pakistani and Bangladesh government to stop the Youtube services Freedom of Speech does not mean that you insulting thousands of people Basically in Western and America there is no respect for elders thats why they did these acts Even the children does not know who is their Father and Mother

Sabuktagin said: This should be the appropriate action - to block and boycott the youtube which also one of the weapons of those unscrupulous people who in the name of freedom of expression insulting hundreds and thousands of people around the world- the same people are funding for this nasty thing to achieve their dirty objectives We are afraid that the curse of the Lord of beloved Prophet Muhammad will destroy those evil network from this world like those who insulted him during his lifetime

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