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>Now, Pak bans Twitter too Pak’s Clamp On Websites Gets Bigger | First Facebook, Then YouTube


Pakistani Islamists shout slogans during a protest in Karachi on Friday against the published caricatures of Prophet Mohammed on Facebook

Islamabad: After blocking Facebook and YouTube, Pakistani authorities on Friday further widened the crackdown on websites with blasphemous content by restricting access to popular social networking website Twitter. Pakistani users were unable to log onto Twitter after internet service providers blocked access to the site. When users tried to log on, their browsers displayed a message that said “This site is restricted”.

Over the past two days, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked websites like Facebook and YouTube, citing “sacrilegious content” on these websites as the reason. The crackdown began after the Lahore high court issued an order for blocking Facebook over a page hosting a contest for blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
Over 450 URLs have been blocked so far by the authorities. The PTA on Thursday said YouTube had been blocked due to “sacrilegious content” but did not point to specific material on the website which prompted this move. “The government acted against both Facebook and YouTube after it failed to persuade the websites to remove the “derogatory material,” the statement said.
Pakistan’s blockage on wildly popular web-sites like YouTube and Facebook will likely have a reverse effect from the one desired by authorities as curious netizens would log onto these sites to see what the brouhaha is about. Pakistan’s telecom regulatory body, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has said it found ‘sacrilegious’ content on YouTube, leading them to block it. Incidentally, YouTube has been co-founded by Jawed Karim, a Muslim. “We have asked the Internet service providers to block more than 450 web links, which
contain derogatory material,” The News quoted a PTA spokesman, as saying.
“There is no way of stopping this. The day government lifts restriction from these websites, the Internet traffic will double. People will visit them just out of curiosity,” said an advertiser, who deals with Facebook and YouTube. AGENCIES

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