Pak considering to unblock YouTube, decision in couple of days

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Pak considering to unblock YouTube, decision in couple of days
The Pakistan government will decide in a couple of days whether to lift a ban imposed on YouTube last year for hosting clips from a controversialanti-Islam film, a federal minister said Thursday.

Defence Minister Naveed Qamar told the National Assembly or lower house of parliament that the government is "seriously considering to unblock the video-sharing website".

He was responding to a point of order raised by Shazia Marri, a lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan People's Party.

A decision on whether to unblock YouTube "would be taken within a couple of days", Qamar said. Marri said the government should not block sources of information to cover up its inability to ensure strict monitoring of objectionable materials.

She quoted a letter written to her by a young musician, who said the blocking of YouTube had deprived him of the only option for sharing his videos.

The blocking of YouTube is "justified" because blasphemous content on the website could not be tolerated, Marri said.

However, YouTube is also considered an effective research tool and a source of information for youngsters, she said. Last month, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had informed a parliamentary panel that there were no plans to remove restrictions on YouTube in the immediate future.

YouTube was blocked in mid-September last year on the orders of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for hosting clips from "Innocence Of Muslims".

The government acted after violent protests against the film erupted across the country.

Pakistani authorities lifted the ban on YouTube for less than an hour on December 29 before reinstating restrictions after a right-wing journalist reported that clips from the anti-Islam film were still available on the website.

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