Lahore: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has said his government's ban on YouTube cannot be removed till a "filtration mechanism" is put in place to cut off access to blasphemous material.
"The only reason we have blocked YouTube is the presence of blasphemous material. We will reopen YouTube when we evolve a filtration mechanism," Ashraf said.
The premier was responding to a demand from a group of journalists for lifting the ban imposed on the video-sharing website last September to cut off access to clips from the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims".
The journalists raised the issue with Ashraf during an official event at Governor's House here late last night. Ashraf said his government was not against access to information.
He had himself directed the Pakistan Telecommunication
Authority to block YouTube for hosting blasphemous material after the country was rocked by protests against the anti-Islam movie.
Acting on a directive from Interior Minister Rehman Malik, PTA had unblocked YouTube on December 29 but the ban was reinstated within an hour by the premier after a right-wing journalist reported that blasphemous material could still be accessed on the site.
Malik has said that PTA is finalizing negotiations for acquiring “powerful firewall software" to block pornographic and blasphemous material.