Pakistan Blocks YouTube as Part of Widening Net Censorship

Pakistan has blocked access YouTube (s GOOG) in the country, citing “growing sacrilegious content” on the site. The decision was made a day after a court ruling prompted the suspension of access to Facebook and some 450 other Internet sites, including certain pages on Flickr and Wikipedia.

According to the New York Times, the YouTube ban came after an Internet monitoring cell within the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) determined that the amount of objectionable content was increasing. PTA Spokesperson Khurram Mehran told The Times, “Earlier we were blocking the links, but when content increased we had to block the whole Web site.”

The crackdown on Internet content deemed offensive by the Pakistani government began after a group of Islamic lawyers won an injunction to ban access to Facebook, due to host a contest hosted on the social network seeking drawings of the Prophet Muhammad. Islam prohibits depictions of the prophet, which are considered by many Muslims to be blasphemous.

This isn’t the first time Pakistan has sought to block YouTube. About two years ago, the government attempted to block access after Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad appeared on the video share site. But that time, due to an error in its network configuration, Pakistan ended up making YouTube inaccessible to the world at large.

And Pakistan isn’t the only country that has tried to block its citizens from watching videos on the Google-owned site. Thailand, Turkey, Brazil, and most recently, China have all acted to cut off access to YouTube over the past several years.

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