Asia Pacific News
How YouTube ban affects Pakistanis
By Ahmer Naqvi
02 Apr 2013 6:18 PM
ISLAMABAD : For months, Pakistan’s government has been wavering over whether to lift the ban on video-sharing website YouTube. Opponents of the ban have said it limits access to information – a right which is particularly important with historic elections drawing near. In September 2012, Pakistan’s government decided to ban the world’s premier video sharing website YouTube from the country. The reason for the ban was a film on the website which was deemed as offensive by Muslims around the world. But while the ban itself sparked debates on freedom of speech and cultural sensitivity, the lack of YouTube had far reaching effects in the country. Osman Khalid Butt is currently a popular TV and stage actor in Pakistan. But he got his big break after his video blogs on YouTube went viral. He said:” I believe (that) at the time, the buzz that had been created had reached a fever pitch.” According to him, the ban deprives Pakistan’s creative minds and voices of a space to be seen and heard. Mr Osman is not the only victim. Beenish Pervez runs a popular hair salon in Karachi, and she and her employees used YouTube to learn new styles, and cultivate their skills. She said:” YouTube is a good help about the fashion which is happening in Milan, everything which is happening there is on YouTube the next day.” Wahaj Siraj, the convener of the Internet Service Provides Association of Pakistan, said that while banning objectionable material is understandable, the implementation and design of the YouTube ban is not. He said:” The government should have been pro-active in finding a solution to this crisis so that they can open YouTube, implement the specific filters to block those particular URLs which contain that objectionable material..and also, side by side, talk to Google, make them agree to value the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and implement a solution where this fiasco...
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