Pakistan Shutters YouTube

    February 25, 2008

Pakistan forced all Internet service providers in the country to block the YouTube Web site for hosting "blasphemous" content it said was offensive to Islam.

Pakistan Youth Pakistan Youth
(Photo Credit: YouTube)

The move by Pakistan led to a near worldwide outage of the site, which lasted close to two hours. YouTube said the outage was due to "erroneous Internet protocols," sourced in Pakistan.

"Traffic to YouTube was routed according to erroneous Internet protocols, and many users around the world could not access our site," Google said. We have determined that the source of these events was a network in Pakistan. We are investigating and working with others in the Internet community to prevent this from happening again."

Pakistan blocked YouTube because it included Danish cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light. "They [Pakistan’s telecommunications authority] asked us to ban it immediately… and the order says the ban will continue until further notice," said Wahaj-us-Siraj, convener of the Association of Pakistan Internet Service Providers, according to the BBC.

Reporters Without Borders condemned the action taken by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). It should not be up to the PTA to order this kind of blocking," the organization said. "Such a decision should be taken by the courts, not by a body that is under the government’s control."