Pakistan Briefly Raises Youtube Banhammer; Reinstates It Three Minutes Later
More recently, it joined a variety of nations which imposed a Youtube ban (or at least complained loudly and violently) because of Google's refusal to block or remove the "Innocence of the Muslims" video. Reacting to violent protests, Pakistan cut off Youtube, much to the dismay of its estimated 25 million internet users.
After the protests switched from decrying the offending video to decrying the offending censorious government, Pakistan decided to lift the ban... only to put it back in less time than it takes to sing [insert viral pop tune title here]:
A ban on YouTube, which Pakistan imposed after an anti-Islam video caused riots in much of the Muslim world, was lifted Saturday, only to be reinstated — after three minutes — when it was discovered that blasphemous material was still available on the site.
Much to the censor's dismay, the offending video remained just where the uploader had left it. The government stated it had "taken steps" to block offending content, but somehow the very thing that had prompted the shutdown had eluded the blockade, putting Muhammed directly in the path of badly-dubbed criticism.
This three-minute unbanning prompted another round of government-aimed criticism, this time with a bit more of a sarcastic edge, as a Pakistani journalist compared interior minister Rehman Malik to a kid playing with the light switch and pointed out that the same government that couldn't handle a website wants to be entrusted with stopping terrorism.
Unfortunately, part of the collateral damage of the Youtube ban is one of Pakistan's own -- Mohammed Shahid Nazir, a fishmonger whose song "One Pound Fish" has gone viral on the video service, racking up over eight million views.
The Nation’s report gave a sense of how famous Mr. Nazir managed to become, despite the ban on the video-sharing site in his home country: “Around 250 people, including local politicians met him at the airport, showering him with rose petals and chanting ‘Long Live One Pound Fish!’ while TV networks interrupted coverage of the fifth anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to show his return live.”
Of course, that's the danger of blocking or taking down content viewed as dangerous, blasphemous, heretical or just plain infringing -- very often, legitimate, non-dangerous, non-offensive content gets caught in the sticky webs of overreaching entities.
I suppose the government has to be grateful that this past weekend's up-and-down action managed to leave the rest of the internet intact. It has to be tough living down a surreptitious Youtube blockade that manages to kill your own country's internet service while blocking the Youtube connection of a handful of unrelated (except by ISP) countries.*Permalink | Comments | Email This Story
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