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Pakistan's problematic record on Internet restrictions

UPDATE: Government plans to restart YouTube (Pakistan Press Foundation, 27 February 2013)

(CPJ/IFEX) - January 3, 2012 - The following is a CPJ Blog post:

By Sumit Galhotra/CPJ Steiger Fellow

The fleeting nature of YouTube's availability in Pakistan this weekend - the site, which has been banned in the country since September, was unblocked for a whole three minutes - is only the latest emblem of Islamabad's erratic and confounding approach to Internet censorship. Those who have been hoping for less opaque tactics apparently are in for disappointment.

"It's become even clearer that content regulation in Pakistan is not carried out in a transparent manner. Rather it is done at the whims of those in power," Sana Saleem, co-founder and director of Karachi-based group Bolo Bhi, which works on Internet freedom and digital security, told CPJ by e-mail.

YouTube was blocked in September by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf's executive order, after the anti-Islam video "Innocence of Muslims" led to violent protests across the Middle East and South Asia. According to media reports, 26 people died and more than 200 were injured across Pakistan in the ensuing clashes.

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