YouTube is no longer banned in Pakistan because Google has agreed to launch a special version of the video-sharing website that allows the Pakistani government to remove content that it considers offensive. The website has been banned in Pakistan for the past 3 years. In September 2012, YouTube was banned after an anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslims” was uploaded; sparking a spate of violent protests all over Pakistan during which some people were even killed. According to the press release of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Google has developed an interface that will allow the PTA to directly contact Google/YouTube in case offending material is found by the users in Pakistan and it urgently needs to be removed.
Pakistan has had the history of blocking thousands of websites it considers blasphemous. The social networking website Facebook is also banned in Pakistan. Along with Pakistan, YouTube has also been in legal battles with Turkey regarding the removal of offensive content that allegedly confronts Islam.
On Monday, January 18, 2016 the Pakistani government ordered the country’s telecom regulator to lift the ban on YouTube within 48 hours when YouTube agreed to provide a Pakistan-specific interface to remove offensive content
Pakistan is not the only country where YouTube has agreed to accommodate. It maintains 85 country-specific websites around the world to showcase local content while totally complying with the local censorship laws.